Household survey of pesticide practice, deliberate self-harm, and suicide in the sundarban region of West Bengal, India

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Abstract

The toxicological impact and intentional ingestion of pesticides are major public health concerns globally. This study aimed to estimate the extent of deliberate self-harm (DSH) and suicides (suicidal behaviour) and document pesticide practices in Namkhana block of the Sundarban region, India. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 1680 households (21 villages) following a mixed random and cluster design sampling. The survey questionnaire (Household Information on Pesticide Use and DSH) was developed by the research team to elicit qualitative and quantitative information. The Kappa statistic and McNemar's test were used to assess the level of agreement and association between respondents' and investigators' opinions about safe storage of pesticides. Over five years, 1680 households reported 181 incidents of suicidal behaviour. Conflict with family members was the most frequently reported reason for suicidal behaviour (53.6%). The Kappa statistic indicated poor agreement between respondents and investigators about safe storage of pesticides. The pesticide-related annual DSH rate was 158.1 (95% CI 126.2-195.5), and for suicide it was 73.4 (95% CI 52.2-100.3) per 100,000. Unsafe pesticide practice and psychosocial stressors are related to the high rates of suicidal behaviour. An intersectoral approach involving the local governments, agricultural department and the health sector would help to reduce the magnitude of this public health problem. © 2013 Sohini Banerjee et al.

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Banerjee, S., Chowdhury, A. N., Schelling, E., & Weiss, M. G. (2013). Household survey of pesticide practice, deliberate self-harm, and suicide in the sundarban region of West Bengal, India. BioMed Research International, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/949076

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