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Medico-legal implications of illegal commercial toxic detergent “Prinso”: an autopsy study


Konara Mudiyanselage Tikiri Bandara Gunathilake ,

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
About Konara Mudiyanselage Tikiri
Office of the Judicial Medical Officer
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Muditha Vidanapathirana

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About Muditha
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
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Time to time there are unusual commercial products appear in the market and they become epidemics of suicide. “Prinso/Pus kudu” is an illegal commercial detergent. This washing powder is marketed as two sachets; 12.5g of oxalic acid and 1.2g of potassium permanganate. During past two years, there was an epidemic of suicide deaths due to ingestion of “Prinso” in Sabaragamuwa province, Sri Lanka.


Material and Methods

A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted on all deaths reported for autopsy following self-ingestion of “Prinso” to Ratnapura Provincial General Hospital from January 2015 to December 2016. Autopsy findings were collected using a data collection form.



There were 16 deaths. Ages ranged from 19 to 68 years. Most were young adults. Different brands of “Prinso” were used and relatives identified them as “Pus Kudu”. It is tasteless and odourless. When 2 or 3 packs are taken, most (n=11) died within 24 hours. According to autopsy, there were macroscopic and microscopic evidence of acute renal failure in five cases. Histopathology showed purple-brown stain in renal tubular cells in all cases.



It was concluded that due to attractive colour, mild corrosiveness and absence of taste or odour, “Prinso” is an ideal agent to commit suicide by ingestion. Adult males are more vulnerable and when more than one pack is ingested, death was almost certain and rapid. Rapid deaths could have been due to the direct or indirect effects of oxalic acid. Late deaths could have been due to acute renal failure by calcium oxalate. Since JMO comes to know the morbidity and mortality of such toxic products early, he/she should initiate safety measurements to prevent public harm.
How to Cite: Bandara Gunathilake, K.M.T. and Vidanapathirana, M., 2017. Medico-legal implications of illegal commercial toxic detergent “Prinso”: an autopsy study. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 5(2), pp.11–16. DOI:
Published on 28 Mar 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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