OBJECTIVE: Pesticide poisoning is a global health problem, and its progressive deterioration is a major cause of concern. The objective of this study is to assess epidemiological characteristics and identify risk factors of pesticide poisoning in Malaysia.
SETTING: Pesticide poisoning database of Malaysia National Poison Centre (NPC) from 2006 to 2015.
PARTICIPANTS: Telephone enquiries regarding pesticide poisoning were made by healthcare professionals. Information received by the NPC was entered into a retrievable database of standardised Poison Case Report Form, as adapted from the World Health Organization (WHO).
OUTCOMES: The outcome of the study is to provide an overview of national epidemiological profile of pesticide poisoning. High-risk groups of people and their circumstances were also identified to ensure that appropriate measures are strategised.
RESULTS: Within the study period, a total of 11 087 pesticide poisoning cases were recorded. Sixty per cent of these cases were intentional in nature and most were found among male individuals (57%) of the Indian race (36.4%) aged between 20 and 29 years (25.5%), which occurred at home (90%) through the route of ingestion (94%). The highest number of poisoning was due to herbicides (44%) followed by agricultural insecticides (34%), rodenticides (9.9%), household insecticides (9.5%) and fungicides (0.5%). In addition, 93.6% of intentional pesticide poisoning cases were caused by suicide attempts. The results of this study show that there was an increasing trend in pesticide poisoning incidents over the 10-year duration. This indicates that pesticide poisoning is a prevalent public health problem in Malaysia, resulting in an average incidence rate of 3.8 per 100 000 population.
CONCLUSIONS: Deliberate pesticide ingestion as a method of suicide has become a disturbing trend among Malaysians. Therefore, regulation of highly hazardous pesticides must be enforced to ensure controlled and limited access to these chemicals by the public.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.