Pesticide poisoning has been recognized as an important public health issue around the world. The objectives of this study were to report nationally representative figures on mortality from and the incidence of pesticide poisoning in South Korea and to describe their epidemiologic characteristics. We calculated the age-standardized rates of mortality from and the incidence of pesticide poisoning in South Korea by gender and region from 2006 through 2010 using registered death data obtained from Statistics Korea and national healthcare utilization data obtained from the National Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service of South Korea. During the study period of 2006 through 2010, a total of 16,161 deaths and 45,291 patients related to pesticide poisoning were identified, marking respective mortality and incidence rates of 5.35 and 15.37 per 100,000 population. Intentional self-poisoning was identified as the major cause of death due to pesticides (85.9%) and accounted for 20.8% of all recorded suicides. The rates of mortality due to and incidence of pesticide poisoning were higher in rural than in urban areas, and this rural-urban discrepancy was more pronounced for mortality than for incidence. Both the rate of mortality due to pesticide poisoning and its incidence rate increased with age and were higher among men than women. This study provides the magnitude and epidemiologic characteristics for mortality from and the incidence of pesticide poisoning at the national level, and strongly suggests the need for further efforts to prevent pesticide selfpoisonings, especially in rural areas in South Korea.
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