Effect of prohibiting the use of Paraquat on pesticide-associated mortality

Jinyong Kim, Sang Do Shin, Seungmin Jeong, Gil Joon Suh, Young Ho Kwak

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Background: Paraquat is associated with a high rate of fatalities in acute poisoning. This study aimed to examine the association between the national public health policy that banned the use of paraquat and the incidence of pesticide-associated mortality. Methods: All external causes of death from 2009 to 2013 of Korea were analyzed. The intervention was a national public health policy that annulled the authorized use (2011) and banned the purchase of paraquat (2012). Two periods were compared as follows: before (2009-2010) and after (2012-2013) the intervention period. The main outcome was pesticide-associated death coded on the death certificate. Multivariable logistic regression analysis adjustment for gender, age, season and weekday of death, province, education level, marital status, and occupation was performed to calculate adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for pesticide-associated mortality. The effect sizes of the intervention across all intents (Accident, Suicide, Homicide, and Undetermined) were compared by adding an interaction term (intervention∗intent group) to the above model. Results: A total of 127,866 deaths from for all external causes were analyzed, including 65,538 from 2009 to 2010 and 62,373 from 2012 to 2013. Pesticide-associated mortality decreased from 9.7% (2009-2010) to 6.5% (2012-2013) (p < 0.001). The AOR (95% CI) of the intervention on pesticide-associated mortality was 0.59 (0.56-0.62). The AORs of the intervention according to intent were 0.72 (0.55-0.96) in the Accident group, 0.61 (0.58-0.64) in the Suicide group, 1.29 (0.43-3.87) in the Homicide group, and 0.44 (0.38-0.50) in the Undetermined group. Conclusion: The national public health policy that banned paraquat resulted in a significant decrease in pesticide-associated mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number858
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2017


  • Mortality
  • Paraquat
  • Public intervention
  • Suicide

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