Q. Why do I hear about paraquat being used to commit suicide?

A. Unfortunately, there have been incidences reported of deliberate exposure to paraquat by people intent on committing suicide. While crop protection products are one of the methods used, they are not one of the most frequent and paraquat is not the most frequently used product (WHO, 2001, FDA 2003, Ministry of Agriculture, India, 2000). Often paraquat-related suicides are highlighted in the media because it is a well-known and very popular product. Studies have been carried out to assess progress with reducing suicides. The results of these studies indicate that progress is being made. For example, in Malaysia, “Following a peak in the 1980s, suicide fatalities involving paraquat have decreased” (Sabapathy, 1995). Additional information about suicide can be found here: World Health Organization (WHO) “Thailand’s Country Profile on Pesticide Poisonings” - Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2003) “A Report on Harmonized Pesticide Poisoning Database in India” - Ministry of Agriculture, India (1999-2000)