Background: Pesticides are widely used to increase crop yields and vector control. However, both acute and chronic exposure have health consequences. There is paucity of information about the global occurrence of pesticide poisonings. Aim: To characterize the reports of pesticide exposures received by a University Poison Information Centre. Material and methods: All pesticide exposures reported in Chile between 2006 and 2013 were analyzed. A data-collection sheet provided by the International Programme on Chemical Safety of the World Health Organization, was used to collect information. Results: In the study period, 13,181 reports were analyzed. The main age groups exposed were preschoolers and adults. Sixty one percent of exposures occurred accidentally and 24.8% were suicide attempts. Exposure to pyrethroids was reported in 33% of cases, to rodenticide anticoagulants in 11% and to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in 6.5%. An increased risk of suicide attempts with pesticides was observed among women, when compared with men (odds ratio: 1.5; 95% confidence intervals: 1.4-1.6; p <0.001). The risk was higher among teenage girls. Conclusions: The amount of cases under acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor exposure, the most toxic pesticides currently in use should be highlighted. Workers should be educated and all cases should be reported to take actions aiming at reducing these events.
Pesticides; Poisoning; Toxic actions