Pesticide poisoning in the developing world—a minimum pesticides list
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In parts of the developing world, pesticide poisoning causes more deaths than infectious diseases. Use of pesticides is poorly regulated and often dangerous; their easy availability also makes them a popular method of self-harm. In 1985, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) produced a voluntary code of conduct for the pesticide industry in an attempt to limit the harmful effects of pesticides. Unfortunately, a lack of adequate government resources in the developing world makes this code ineffective, and thousands of deaths continue today. WHO has recommended that access to highly toxic pesticides be restricted-where this has been done, suicide rates have fallen. Since an Essential Drugs List was established in 1977, use of a few essential drugs has rationalised drug use in many regions. An analogous Minimum Pesticides List would identify a restricted number of less dangerous pesticides to do specific tasks within an Integrated pest management system. Use of safer pesticides should result in fewer deaths, just as the change from barbiturates to benzodiazepines has reduced the number of deaths from pharmaceutical self-poisoning.
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