Pesticide Poisoning in Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific

  • Mowbray, David L.


The literature is reviewed for reported cases of poisoning by pesticides in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and other South Pacific countries. Further instances of human poisoning by pesticides are reported and placed in an overall perspective. Pesticides are not a major cause of poisoning in PNG. Considering the amounts of pesticides used in each country, the incidence of poisoning in PNG appears low compared with that in Western Samoa and Fiji, but high in comparison with Australia and New Zealand As in Western Samoa and Fiji many of the cases of pesticide poisoning in PNG are intentions (suicide or homicide) rather than accidental. The main problem pesticide is paraquat. In PNG changes in the previous regulations, an educational campaign and cooperation from the main supplier have lessened the chances of paraquat poisoning. New regulations should, if adequate, further restrict the availability to untrained persons of the concentrated formulation of this widely used herbicide and of other hazardous or toxic pesticides. Importers of pesticides will have to comply with registration requirements. Establishment of a Poisons Information Centre is suggested. Studies involving determination of pesticide residues in humans and effects on other species in PNG are reported. Organochlorine residues have been detected in fat, milk and blood samples of humans and in wildlife. Decreased cholinesterase levels have been reported in a few exposed persons. Poisoning of species other than man has been reported. In the largest reported poisoning many cattle which had been sprayed with 'diazinon break-down-products' were killed.


JOURNAL: Papua New Guinea Med J. 1986; 29(2): 131-141.

Note: Papua New Guinea Medical Journal.

NLOM ID#: No ID #.

This document was extracted from the CDC-NIOSH Epidemiology of Farm Related Injuries: Bibliography With Abstracts, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

We are unable to supply copies of the full report cited in this entry. Readers are advised to use the following sources:

  • Author or publisher: articles are frequently available from the author or publisher.
  • Medical or other research libraries: these facilities often have the material on hand or know where it can be obtained. If available, each journal entry includes the appropriate National Library of Medicine unique identification number to aid in interlibrary loan requests.
  • Government: some U.S. Government-sponsored research reports, including ones out-of print, are available from the National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More