Pesticide poisoning surveillance through regional poison control centers

Debra K Olson, L. Sax, P. Gunderson, Leo J Sioris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to describe pesticide exposure in the population of callers to Minnesota Regional Poison Centers. Case files from 1988 reporting pesticide exposure to humans were identified in cooperation with the Minnesota Center for Health Statistics. Data analysis was conducted by computer using SAS statistical package. Of the 1,428 case files indicating pesticide as the primary substance of exposure to Minnesota residents, a mean age of 5 years (range, one month to 85 years) was identified; 50 percent of all cases were below age 3 years. Males accounted for 1.3 times as many cases as females. Insecticide was identified in the largest percentage of case files (74 percent) followed by herbicide (12 percent), rodenticide (11 percent) and fungicide-nonmedicinal (3 percent). Ingestion was the most common route of exposure; 85 percent of all calls originated from a residence. While insecticides are still the most common types of pesticide call, herbicide has surpassed insecticide in production and sales in the US. In this study, herbicide type exposure calls present a much different picture than other pesticide types. The usefulness of poison control centers for examination of pesticide poisoning is explored. Since reporting occurs coincidental with the exposure and its associated symptoms, each pesticide poisoning report could potentially serve as a true sentinel health event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-753
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991


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