Highly hazardous pesticides may have acute and/or chronic toxic effects, posing particular risk to children, and are recognized as an issue of global concern. Their widespread use has caused health problems and fatalities in many parts of the world, often as a result of occupational exposure and accidental or intentional poisonings.
Available data are too limited to estimate the overall global health impacts of pesticides; however, the global impact of self-poisoning (suicides) from preventable pesticide ingestion was estimated to amount to 155,488 deaths and 7,362,493 Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in 2016. Studies have shown that introduction of regulations to ban the use of HHPs has saved lives.
The greatest exposure to highly hazardous pesticides is for agricultural and public health workers during handling, dilution, mixing and application. The general population may be exposed through consumption of residues of pesticides in food and, possibly, drinking water.
Concerted effort is needed globally to address highly hazardous pesticides. To assist in mitigation of the risks associated with these substances, guidance and legal frameworks on the registration, labelling, use, management and trade of pesticides, as well as proper storage, handling and disposal, are available from international organizations and international conventions. This information has also been brought together in a Toolkit.
Short information documents for decision makers
Tools for action
- NEW Detoxifying agriculture and health from highly hazardous pesticides
A call for action available here
- WHO/FAO International code of conduct on pesticide management: Guidelines on highly hazardous pesticides
- IOMC Toolbox for decision-making in chemicals management
- FAO Pesticide Registration Toolkit
- Preventing suicide: a resource for pesticide registrars and regulators
- Safer Access to Pesticides: Community Interventions
- Technical guidance for management of public health pesticides
- Sound management of pesticides and diagnosis and treatment of pesticide poisoning: a resource tool
- Guidelines on compliance and enforcement of a pesticide regulatory programme (pdf)
- Quality control of pesticides products – Guidelines for national laboratories (pdf)
- Guidelines on personal protection when working with pesticides in the tropical climates (pdf)
- Global guide to resources for implementation of IFCS forum IV recommendation
- Guidelines for predicting dietary intake of pesticide residues
- Guidelines for procuring public health pesticides
Norms and guidance values
- Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
- Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
- Rotterdam Convention on hazard chemicals including severely hazardous pesticide formulations
- NEW The WHO recommended classification of pesticides by hazard, 2019 edition
- Pesticide residues in food: Maximum residue limits / extraneous maximum residue limits
- Guidelines for drinking-water quality (Fourth edition), chapter 12.1