All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi, India.
Acute poisoning with pesticides is a global public health problem and accounts for as many as 300,000 deaths worldwide every year. The majority of deaths occur due to exposure to organophosphates, organochlorines and aluminium phosphide. Organophosphate compounds inhibit acetylcholinesterase resulting in acute toxicity. Intermediate syndrome can develop in a number of patients and may lead to respiratory paralysis and death. Management consists of proper oxygenation, atropine in escalating doses and pralidoxime in high doses. It is Important to decontaminate the skin while taking precautions to avoid secondary contamination of health personnel. Organochlorine pesticides are toxic to the central nervous system and sensitize the myocardium to catecholamines. Treatment involves supportive care and avoiding exogenous sympathomimetic agents. Ingestion of paraquat causes severe inflammation of the throat, corrosive injury to the gastrointestinal tract, renal tubular necrosis, hepatic necrosis and pulmonary fibrosis. Administration of oxygen should be avoided as it produces more fibrosis. Use of immunosuppressive agents have improved outcome in patients with paraquat poisoning. Rodenticides include thallium, superwarfarins, barium carbonate and phosphides (aluminium and zinc phosphide). Alopecia is an atypical feature of thallium toxicity. Most exposures to superwarfarins are harmless but prolonged bleeding may occur. Barium carbonate Ingestion can cause severe hypokalaemia and respiratory muscle paralysis. Aluminium phosphide is a highly toxic agent with mortality ranging from 37% to 100%. It inhibits mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase and leads to pulmonary and cardiac toxicity. Treatment is supportive with some studies suggesting a beneficial effect of magnesium sulphate. Pyrethroids and insect repellants (e.g. diethyltoluamide) are relatively harmless but can cause toxic effects to pulmonary and central nervous systems. Ethylene dibromide-a highly toxic, fumigant pesticide-produces oral ulcerations, followed by liver and renal toxicity, and is almost uniformly fatal. Physicians working in remote and rural areas need to be educated about early diagnosis and proper management using supportive care and antidotes, wherever available.
PMID: 18085124 [PubMed - in process]