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An Urgent Need to Restrict Access to Pesticides Based on Human Lethality

  • Matthew Miller mail,

    Affiliation: Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

  • Kavi Bhalla

    Affiliation: Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

  • Published: October 26, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000358

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Restrict Access to Pesticides

Posted by Dallas on 27 Oct 2010 at 17:58 GMT

The article "An Urgent Need to Restrict Access to Pesticides Based on Human Lethality" is concerned about preventing suicides by pesticide poisonings. However, the human lethality of a specific pesticide is probably less relevant than its palatability, which is a property not discussed. This article and it’s supporting research report also didn’t mention of the cost/effectiveness of the pesticides choices.

Even the safest of pesticides from a human lethality standpoint, like DDT, can be toxic when mixed with a toxic carrier or a highly human toxic pesticide can be formulated as an emetic and be useless as a suicide agent. Unless problems are fully thought through, it is easy to have unintended consequences of forcing higher cost alternatives on farmers with no real net gain to the society. A complete cost/benefit analysis should accompany any such suggestion to restrict access. It is the responsibility of the persons making a proposal of restrictions to show that such restrictions are a net gain to the society as a whole.

No competing interests declared.