About the pesticide
Organophosphates include insecticides like malathion, parathion and fenthion, which are widely used in developing countries like India.
The pesticides inhibit the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. The enzyme breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which transmits impulses from brain and to the body. Breakdown of acetylcholine signifies the end of a transmission. This is what the pesticide fouls and, in turn, disrupts communication.
In most of the poisoning cases, death occurs due to respiratory failure. Initial symptoms of poisoning like diarrhoea, vomiting, sweating and secretions in the lungs are treated with atropine.
While there are moves, even by WHO, to reduce such cases by restricting the use of pesticides, this has not been feasible so far.
In India, Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh reports more than 1,000 cases of pesticide poisoning each year of which about 96 per cent are suicides.