Acute toxicity refers to effects caused immediately or soon after exposure to the pesticide. (The word 'acute’ here describes the timing of the reaction, not the severity.) Acute poisoning can cause a wide range of symptoms, and can be anything from mild to life-threatening. For some pesticides a large acute exposure may also have long-term consequences.
Symptoms of pesticide poisoning can include:
The complete list of possible symptoms is very long, so if you experience any symptoms after exposure to a pesticide, you may wish to seek medical advice.
Accidental pesticide poisoning is a serious health problem globally causing millions of poisoning cases every year, and thousands of fatalities, almost entirely in developing countries.
In the UK, serious problems arising from acute poisoning are rare, although it is possible that milder cases of acute poisoning are under-reported. For example, some people think that the 'dippers flu' experienced by some sheep farmers may be caused by acute poisoning with the pesticides used in sheep dipping.