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The secure storage of pesticides

The secure storage of pesticides


LOCK UP YOUR PESTICIDES and save a life

The pesticide stewardship message is unequivocal: Lock up your pesticides and keep the key safe; make sure that only those who need to use pesticides for their intended purpose, have access to them.

Lock up your pesticides and keep the key safe; make sure that only those who need to use pesticides for their intended purpose, have access to them

Where pesticides are not stored safely the consequences can be tragic; it is estimated that over 250,000 people commit suicide every year by deliberately drinking pesticides. Most of these are in developing country smallholder families in isolated communities who do not enjoy the care and social services received by others.  Suicide is a very sensitive issue, often with religious or financial overtones. As a result, it is frequently ignored by society at large and by our industry in particular; however the deliberate misuse of pesticides for suicide remains the biggest single health issue for crop protection products.

Many small farmers have no option but to store pesticides in their homes, with no means of securing access (15 Kb JPEG)
Many small farmers have no option but to store pesticides in their homes, with no means of securing access

A key as to why secure storage can be successful is the impulsive nature of many suicide attempts in developing countries. There is growing evidence that if the means of suicide is not immediately available when the vulnerable are at greatest risk, then lives will be saved and many potential victims will not try again. At present many small farmers have no option but to store pesticides in their homes, with no means of securing access. It is this availability that makes misuse so common.

The World Health Organisation has formed an expert group to investigate and promote secure storage within the scope of their initiative. “The Impact of Pesticides on Health – Preventing Intentional and Unintentional Deaths from Pesticide Poisoning.” You can read more about the group and their research. Or view a video about the human story behind the research:

Comments from field workers, researchers and practitioners:

“Secure storage of pesticides is one of the best ways to prevent suicide in rural areas, but that alone is not enough,” Lakshmi Ratnayeke,  Sumithrayo, Sri Lanka.

“….preventing suicides by restricting access is a clear example of what can be done and what works” - Dr Mort Silverman National Suicide Prevention Resource Center  USA.

“…encourage everyone involved in the agro chemical industry to look at Secure Storage…” – Professor Keith Hawton Oxford Center for Suicide Research.

“The most effective action I ever took was to hand out padlocks to village women in rural India” Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar SNEHA Chennai India.

The participation of the civil society, the private sector and other government agencies is essential for the control over pesticide poisoning. Dr. Jesús Marín Republic Of Nicaragua, Health Department.


 
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