Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
GARCIA, Jaime E.. Intoxicaciones agudas con plaguicidas: costos humanos y económicos. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.4, n.6 ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891998001200003.
The use of pesticides has produced great agricultural benefits and, at the same time, serious public health problems that need to be solved. According to studies performed in the 1980s and 1990s, every year about half a million to one and a half million cases of acute pesticide poisoning are notified, together with 3000 to 28000 deaths. The purpose of this study was to draw attention to the incidence of acute pesticide poisoning and to the social and economic costs that are attributable to pesticides in different parts of the world. We present data on the economic importance of the pesticide industry and describe the situation of acute poisonings from exposure to pesticides and consumption of contaminated foods. Such data show that pesticide poisonings are more frequent in developing countries than in industrialized countries, even though developing countries consume less pesticides. We also estimate the economic costs of pesticide poisonings and examine certain other aspects of the situation, underscoring the need to reduce pesticide use.