Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A community-based trial of safer storage to reduce pesticide self-poisoning in rural Sri Lanka

Pesticides and suicide

Pesticides are commonly involved in suicide.  It has been estimated that nearly a third of the over 800 000 suicides in the world each year involved pesticide ingestion.  These deaths particularly occur in rural areas of developing countries where there are large numbers of small farms and where pesticide use is important for sustaining crop production.

One issue is that pesticide containers are often left lying around in households making the pesticides readily available for suicidal (and accidental) ingestion.  We have conducted a pilot study in Sri Lanka jointly with a community support organisation (‘Sumithrayo’) to assess the acceptability and use of lockable boxes for safer storage of pesticides (Hawton et al. 2009).  We are now involved in an international collaborative study in which a cluster randomised evaluative trial of storage boxes is being conducted in 162 villages in Sri Lanka (Pearson et al. 2011). 

Hawton, K., Ratnayeke, L., Simkin, S., Harriss, L. & Scott, V. (2009). Evaluation of acceptability and use of lockable storage devices for pesticides in Sri Lanka that might assist in prevention of self-poisoning. BMC Public Health, 9, 69. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-69

Pearson, M., Konradsen, F., Gunnell, D., Dawson, A. H., Pieris, R., Weerasinghe, M., Knipe, D. W., Jayamanne, S., Metcalfe, C., Hawton, K., Wickramasinghe, A. R., Atapattu, W., Bandara, P., De Silva, D., Ranasinghe, A., Mohamed, F., Buckley, N. A., Gawarammana, I. & Eddleston, M. (2011). A community-based cluster randomised trial of safe storage to reduce pesticide self-poisoning in rural Sri Lanka: Study protocol. BMC Public Health, 11.