Current projects in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s pesticide regulations have contributed to one of the greatest fallen in suicide rates ever seen in the world. Sri Lanka has reduced its suicide rate by 70% (or 93,000 lives) through a series of regulation of pesticides since 1995 (Knipe et al. The Lancet Global Health). Having peaked at 57 per 100 000 population in the early 1990s, its incidence is now 17 per 100 000 each year and continuing to fall. However, removal of problematic pesticides from agriculture by regulation then results in other pesticides becoming popular in agriculture and for self-harm.

South Korea & paraquat

South Korea has the highest suicide mortality rate (29.1/100,000 population, based on 2012 data) among all Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. A relatively large proportion of suicides occur from pesticide poisoning compared with other countries - suicide with pesticides accounted for 21% of all suicides in South Korea during 2006 through 2010.


China has also seen a remarkable reduction in the number of pesticide suicides over the last 20 years.

In the 1990s, there were an estimated 180,000 pesticide suicides each year, often in young women. Recent estimates suggest that there are now around 50,000 deaths from pesticide self-poisoning annually. The incidence of pesticide suicides has clearly fallen each year from 2006 to 2013 for both men and women (see top lines in each of side of the figure).