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Pesticide safety training and practices in women working in small-scale agriculture in South Africa

01 Dec 2010-Occupational and Environmental Medicine (BMJ Publishing Group)-Vol. 67, Iss: 12, pp 823-828
TL;DR: Training and safety practices when mixing and spraying pesticides, and acetylcholinesterase levels among women farmers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa are described.
Abstract: Objectives Unregulated use of pesticides continues in developing countries in the presence of illiteracy and limited safety training and practices. This paper describes training and safety practices when mixing and spraying pesticides, and acetylcholinesterase levels among women farmers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Methods A cross-sectional study conducted in women working in small-scale agriculture in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in 2006 assessed pesticide training and safety practices using a questionnaire survey and measured acetylcholinesterase levels in 803 women. Three components of safety behaviour were identified through principle component analysis and described. Results The mean age of participants was 41.8 years (range 18–82 years) with a mean of 6.9 years (range 1–12 years) of education among school attendees. Among the 803 women included, 366 (45.6%) were the primary sprayers on their farm. Only 16.4% of the sprayers had ever attended a pesticide training course and only 18.0% reported ever reading pesticide labels. Of the women using some form of protective equipment, 56.7% and 54.9% reported doing so when mixing and spraying pesticides, respectively. The mean acetylcholinesterase level corrected for haemoglobin among study participants was 28.9 U/g Hb (95% CI 28.4 to 29.4). Conclusion Women working in small-scale agriculture in rural KwaZulu-Natal with limited access to pesticide training observe few safety practices when mixing and spraying pesticides.

Summary (2 min read)

Introduction

  • They are exposed to pesticides domestically through washing the pesticide contaminated clothing of their husbands,2 and occupationally.
  • In the absence of appropriate safety practices during pesticide storage, mixing and application, their families and communities are also put at risk of exposure.
  • Small-scale farming in various areas of South Africa is essentially self-employment.
  • < In South Africa there is little information on pesticide exposure and safety practices among women working in small-scale agriculture.

Correspondence to

  • In small-scale farming where farm owners work alongside labourers under considerable financial constraints, implementation of occupational health and safety legislative requirements is generally unlikely.
  • This paper describes the training and safety practices when mixing and spraying pesticides, and AChe levels among women working in small-scale agriculture on an irrigation scheme and in the drylands of the Makhatini Flats.
  • Prior to obtaining consent and following the questionnaire interview which took approximately 30 min to complete, the test procedure was explained to the participant with the option to reconsider her participation.
  • Of the 885 women for whom AChe levels were obtained, the AChe results of 82 participants had to be discarded because of temperature extremes and procedural errors during testing.

Data analysis

  • The data collected were coded and captured by trained data personnel in EPIDATA.
  • Women who reported being the person primarily responsible for spraying pesticides on the farm were classified as ‘sprayers’ and women who did not spray or sprayed pesticides less than once per year were classified as ‘non-sprayers’.
  • The independent samples t test and c2 test were used for continuous and categorical variables, respectively, to identify significant demographic differences between sprayers and non-sprayers.
  • Safety practice information was available for the sprayers.
  • During analysis the sprayers responses on pesticide information, safety practices and storage were recoded as ‘never to sometimes’¼no and ‘often and always’¼yes.

Components of safety behaviour

  • Fifty four variables on pesticide sources, information, safety practices and storage were subjected to principal components analysis (PCA).
  • PCA revealed the presence of 15 components with eigenvalues exceeding 1.
  • The screeplot revealed a clear break after the third component and parallel analysis confirmed the inclusion of the three components.

RESULTS Demographic profile

  • Reflecting the socioeconomic status of this group of women, 204 (25.4%) had never attended school, while among those who did attend school the mean years of education were 6.9 years (range: 2e12).
  • Sources of pesticides, information and training Women who sprayed their own pesticides (n¼366) were questioned further on their sources of pesticides used, information and training received.

Reading pesticide labels

  • Women who correctly interpreted the ‘keep locked away and out of reach of children’ pictogram were significantly more likely to report locking up pesticides as compared to women who failed to correctly interpret the pictogram (p¼0.01).
  • Most women (n¼211; 60.9%) mixed their pesticides directly in the knapsack spray container.
  • The PPE most frequently used was boots followed by coats and overalls.
  • Gloves, masks and eye protection were less frequently reported.

Length of residence on the

  • In total, 289 women (78.9%) (including those who worked alone) followed waiting periods of varying duration after pesticide application before returning to the fields.
  • Eighteen (4.9%) and 13 (3.6%) women, respectively, reported using empty pesticide containers to carry water and wash clothing.
  • In the first component variables loaded on the ‘frequency of and reasons for reading pesticide labels’ loaded, the second on ‘use of personal protective equipment’ during mixing and spraying of pesticides and the third component on ‘sources of pesticide information’.

DISCUSSION

  • The authors results indicate that women working in small-scale agriculture in rural KZN have limited access to pesticide training and observe few safety practices when mixing, spraying and storing pesticides.
  • Such practices put these women at high risk for adverse acute and chronic pesticide related health effects which have been well documented in the literature.
  • Lack of finances,9 10 discomfort with PPE and slowing of work29 have been cited in the literature as reasons for the absence and non-use of PPE and these are most likely reasons in their study population as well.
  • The authors tested AChe levels in their study population of 803 women but were unable to show any significant differences in AChe levels corrected for haemoglobin between sprayers and non-sprayers (see online table).
  • Furthermore, the government should introduce support programmes such as financial aid for small-scale farmers who choose to adopt IPM methods and decrease pesticide use.

CONCLUSION

  • Women working in small-scale agriculture in rural KZN with limited access to pesticide training are at risk for acute and chronic adverse pesticide related health effects and unknowingly contribute to environmental contamination.
  • An integrated effort by the government is required to assist small-scale farmers achieve adequate pesticide safety thus averting acute and chronic adverse health effects, while concurrently encouraging cost-effective IPM strategies reducing pesticide use.
  • The authors are also grateful to S Mnyaiza and C Memela for managing data collection in the field.
  • This study was conducted with the approval of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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doi: 10.1136/oem.2010.055863
2010
2010 67: 823-828 originally published online June 24,Occup Environ Med
S Naidoo, L London, H-A Rother, et al.
South Africa
women working in small-scale agriculture in
Pesticide safety training and practices in
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Pesticide safety training and practices in women
working in small-scale agriculture in South Africa
S Naidoo,
1
L London,
2
H-A Rother,
2
A Burdorf,
3
R N Naidoo,
1
H Kromhout
4
ABSTRACT
Objectives Unregulated use of pesticides continues in
developing countries in the presence of illiteracy and
limited safety training and practices. This paper
describes training and safety practices when mixing and
spraying pesticides, and acetylcholinesterase levels
among women farmers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Methods A cross-sectional study conducted in women
working in small-scale agriculture in rural KwaZulu-Natal,
South Africa in 2006 assessed pesticide training and
safety practices using a questionnaire survey and
measured acetylcholinesterase levels in 803 women.
Three components of safety behaviour were identified
through principle component analysis and described.
Results The mean age of participants was 41.8 years
(range 18e82 years) with a mean of 6.9 years (range
1e12 years) of education among school attendees.
Among the 803 women included, 366 (45.6%) were the
primary sprayers on their farm. Only 16.4% of the
sprayers had ever attended a pesticide training course
and only 18.0% reported ever reading pesticide labels. Of
the women using some form of protective equipment,
56.7% and 54.9% reported doing so when mixing and
spraying pesticides, respectively. The mean
acetylcholinesterase level corrected for haemoglobin
among study participants was 28.9 U/g Hb (95% CI 28.4
to 29.4).
Conclusion Women working in small-scale agriculture in
rural KwaZulu-Natal with limited access to pesticide
training observe few safety practices when mixing and
spraying pesticides.
INTRODUCTION
In developing countries, the majority of women
work in agriculture
1
or live in agrichemical exposed
settings. They are exposed to pesticides domesti-
cally through washing the pesticide contaminated
clothing of their husbands,
2
and occupationally.
3
This has potential acute and chronic health impli-
cations for these women.
The unregulated and indiscriminate use of
pesticides
in developing countries persists with the
development of increasing demands for improved
agricultural productivity to sustain growing
populations.
4e6
The use of pesticides under these
conditions by impoverished women farmers and
farm workers with limited education and training
7
and poor access to personal protective equipment
(PPE)
78
increases their risk for acute and chronic
adverse health outcomes. In the absence of appro-
priate safety practices during pesticide storage,
mixing and application, their families and
communities are also put at risk of exposure.
4
In developing countries, small-scale agricultural
production for subsistence or the local market
places considerable nancial constraints on farmers.
Accessing pesticide training programmes and
protective equipment is difcult and not normal
practice
9 10
and so farmers have to rely on govern-
ment supported initiatives which may not be
forthcoming or even exist.
11
South Africa is a country where pesticide use
remains largely unregulated with outdated pesticide
legislation.
12
As part of the strategies to address
apartheid era socio-economic imbalances, the
government has embarked on land redistribution
initiatives
13
and support of agricultural activities to
increase productivity, alleviate unemployment and
develop the economy. This rapid development has
partly contributed to the indiscriminate use of
pesticides. In addition, the legislation governing
pesti cide registration, distribution, worker safety and
health is managed by several rather than a single
ministerial department.
12
Pesticide registration and
sales are monitored by the Department of Agricul-
ture, Forestry and Fisheries.
14
Pesticide poisoning is
anotiable condition under the National Health Act
(No 61 of 2003) regulated by the Department of
Health.
15
However, poisonings are severely under-
reported.
11
The Hazardous Chemical Substances
Regulations promulgated in terms of the Occupa-
tional Health and Safety Act (No 85 of 1993)
16
regulated by the Department of Labour require all
workers including the self-employed, who are
exposed to hazardous chemicals such as pesticides to
be trained regarding their occupational exposures.
Small-scale farming in various areas of South
Africa is essentially self-employment. Women are
increasingly participating in small-scale agriculture
What this paper adds
<
The use of pesticides in developing countries
persists in the presence of illiteracy and limited
safety training and practices.
<
In South Africa there is little information on
pesticide exposure and safety practices among
women working in small-scale agriculture.
<
Women working in small-scale agriculture in
South Africa are exposed to pesticides during
mixing and spraying.
<
Women are unable to read pesticide labels, have
limited access to pesticide training and observe
few pesticide safety practices.
<
An integrated intervention involving the govern-
ment, the pesticide industry and small-scale
farmers is required to assist these women
achieve adequate pesticide safety.
<
An Additional table is
published online only. To view
this file please visit the journal
online (http://oem.bmj.com).
1
Department of Occupational
and Environmental Health,
School of Family and Public
Health Medicine, Nelson R
Mandela School of Medicine,
University of KwaZulu-Natal,
Durban, South Africa
2
Centre for Occupational and
Environmental Health Research,
School of Public Health and
Family Medicine, University of
Cape Town, Cape Town, South
Africa
3
Department of Public Health,
Erasmus MC, University Medical
Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam,
the Netherlands
4
Institute for Risk Assessment
Sciences, Environmental
Epidemiology Division, Utrecht
University, Utrecht, the
Netherlands
Correspondence to
Dr Saloshni Naidoo, Department
for Occupational and
Environmental Health, Nelson R
Mandela School of Medicine,
University of KwaZulu-Natal,
Private Bag 7 Congella 4013,
South Africa;
naidoos71@ukzn.ac.za
Accepted 4 March 2010
Published Online First
24 June 2010
Occup Environ Med 2010;67:823e828. doi:10.1136/oem.2010.055863 823
Original article
group.bmj.com on November 19, 2010 - Published by oem.bmj.comDownloaded from

in South Africa, both as owners and workers, as men continue to
seek work as migrant labourers in urban areas. Women report
the use of and exposure to several hazardous pesticides.
17 18
As
a result they are subject to the terms of the legislation. Although
provision of training is the responsibility of the employer, in
small-scale farming where farm owners work alongside labourers
under considerable nancial constraints, implementation of
occupational health and safety legislative requirements is gener-
ally unlikely.
Farm workers are among the most disadvantaged of all
economically
active groups in South Africa, with the majority
living and working in harsh conditions, experiencing high levels
of illiteracy and little awareness of employee rights.
19 20
Women
by virtue of their gender are further disadvantaged in agricul-
ture.
18
Organophosphate and carbamate pesticides, some of the most
hazardous pesticides women farmers and farm workers are
exposed to, cause depression of acetylcholinesterase (AChe),
which increases acetylcholine levels at neural junctions producing
both acute and chronic adverse neurological effects.
21 22
Monitoring AChe levels makes it possible to identify the acute
biological effects of organophosphates and carbamates in exposed
individuals, thus allowing the early identication and removal of
affected workers to reduce the potential for adverse health
effects. The presence of affected workers implies inadequate
existing safety practices.
The report presented in this paper was part of a larger cross-
sectional
study which sought to describe the occupational
health problems of women working in small-scale agriculture on
the Makhatini Flats in rural KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South
Africa. We investigated womens access to pesticide training,
their safety practices and their erythrocyte AChe levels. This
paper describes the training and safety practices when mixing
and spraying pesticides, and AChe levels among women working
in small-scale agriculture on an irrigation scheme and in the
drylands of the Makhatini Flats.
METHODS
Study area, population and recruitment of participants
Details of the study area, population and recruitment of study
participants have been reported in detail previously.
17
In
summary, the Makhatini Flats is located in northern KZN, an
agriculturally intensive area consisting of small-scale farms
either on an articial irrigation scheme (n¼276; 1e10 hectares in
size) or in a dryland area (n¼1200; 1e5 hectares in size). Due to
the temperate climate, farmers practise mixed cropping
throughout the year.
Data collection occurred Monday to Friday during June, July
and
August in 2006. All women 18 years of age and older,
working in agriculture on the Makhatini Flats were invited
through farmers unions to voluntarily participate in the inter-
view survey administered by trained eld workers in isiZulu, the
local language, at 13 randomly chosen sites on the Makhatini
Flats. All women present at the site on the interview days
participated in the study. In the absence of a complete sampling
frame, based on pre-survey visits to the study area we estimated
that approximately 4400 women worked on the farms on the
Makhatini Flats of whom 913 (20.8%) participated in the study.
Interview instrument and data collection
The questionnaire was administered at the end of the working
day (11:00 to 15:00 h) to study participants by trained native
isiZulu-speaking eld workers.
17
In addition to demographic and
crop production information, the questionnaire enquired about
pesticide training, reading of pesticide label information, types of
pesticides used, application methods, and safety practices during
the mixing, application and storage of pesticides.
Responses to questions on pesticide training were categorised as
ye
s and no, while responses to questions on the use of pesticide
label information, safety and storage practices were categorised as
never, rarely, sometimes, often and always. As part of
understanding safety practices, we asked about reading pesticide
labels and tested participants ability to interpret pictograms by
showing them two pictograms which commonly appear on
pesticide labels and asked them for an interpretation.
23
When
asked about waiting times before re-entry into a sprayed eld,
participants were given four options to choose from: <30 min,
30 min to 4 h, 4 h to 24 h and >24 h.
Written consent was obtained from the participants for the
interview and AChe testing, with illiterate women providing
a thumb print as an indication of their consent. Prior to
obtaining consent and following the questionnaire interview
which took approximately 30 min to complete, the test proce-
dure was explained to the participant with the option to
reconsider her participation.
AChe levels were tested using the Test-mate Cholinesterase
testing kit developed by EQM Research (Cincinnati, Ohio,
USA).
24
McConnell et al have demonstrated that the test has
a small coefcient of variance and a drop in AChe level of 22%
can be detected.
25
A trained nurse conducted the AChe eld
testing. Prior to AChe testing women were asked to wash their
hands with soap and water in order to prevent contamination of
blood samples. The testing procedure was conducted according
to the instructions detailed in the test manual.
24
Since crop
cultivation occurs throughout the year and farmers do not
follow a uniform spraying schedule, it was not possible to
establish pre-exposure AChe levels in our study population. Of
the 913 women who participated in the questionnaire survey, 28
refused to have their AChe levels measured. Of the 885 women
for whom AChe levels were obtained, the AChe results of 82
participants had to be discarded because of temperature
extremes and procedural errors during testing. The results
presented in this paper refer, therefore, to the 803 women for
whom we had usable AChe results.
Data analysis
The data collected were coded and captured by trained data
personnel in EPIDATA. STATA v 10 was used to analyse the
data. Women who reported being the person primarily respon-
sible for spraying pesticides on the farm were classied as
sprayers and women who did not spray or sprayed pesticides
less than once per year were classied as non-sprayers. The
independent samples t test and
c
2
test were used for continuous
and categorical variables, respectively, to identify signicant
demographic differences between sprayers and non-sprayers.
Safety practice infor mation was available for the sprayers.
During analysis the sprayers responses on pesticide information,
safety practices and storage were recoded as never to some-
times¼no and often and always¼yes.
Components of safety behaviour
Fifty four variables on pesticide sources, infor mation, safety
practices and storage were subjected to principal components
analysis (PCA). PCA revealed the presence of 15 components
with eigenvalues exceeding 1. However, the screeplot revealed
a clear break after the third component and parallel analysis
conrmed the inclusion of the three components. Variables with
a loading of more than 0.2 were included in each component. We
824 Occup Environ Med 2010;67:823e828. doi:10.1136/oem.2010.055863
Original article
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assessed safety behaviour among the sprayers using the median
of the principal components score as a cut-off point. The
c
2
was
used to test for signicant differences in safety behaviour
between women working on the irrigation scheme and in the
drylands. The accepted level of signicance was 0.05 (
a
¼0.05).
Full ethics approval for this study was obtained from the
Biomedical Research Ethics Committee of the University of
KwaZulu-Natal.
RESULTS
Demographic profile
Although the mean age (41.8 years; range: 18e82 years) of the
participants indicated mature adulthood, some participants
were young adults. Reecting the socioeconomic status of this
group of women, 204 (25.4%) had never attended school, while
among those who did attend school the mean years of education
were 6.9 years (range: 2e12). Mean length of residence in the
study area was 24.3 years (range: 1e80 years) (table 1).
Among the 803 study women, 366 (45.6%) were the primary
sprayers on their farm. Among those women who did not spray
(n¼437), the majority used either a family member (n¼173;
39.6%) or hired a sprayer (n¼107; 24.5%). In the remaining
cases, for 55 (12.6%), 17 (3.9%) and 5 (1.1%), spraying was done
by a co-worker, the farm owner or a neighbour, respectively.
Eighty (18.3%) respondents did not know who was responsible
for pesticide application.
Signicantly more sprayers (n¼332; 90.8%) compared to non-
sprayers (n¼303; 69.3%) lived on farms which either they or
their families owned (p<0.001).
Sources of pesticides, information and training
Women who sprayed their own pesticides (n¼366) were ques-
tioned further on their sources of pesticides used, information
and training received. Most women purchased their own pesti-
cides (n¼282; 77.1%) as opposed to receiving supplies from
a third party. Third party sources included family members
(n¼43; 11.8%), the farm owner (n¼19; 5.2%), a neighbour
(n¼15; 4.1%) and the Agricultural Research Council (n¼7;
1.9%).
Of the women who purchased their own pesticides, 48
(17.0%) reported purchasing their pesticides from more than one
pesticide sales source. These pesticide sales sources included the
local co-operative on the Makhatini Flats (n¼313; 85.5%), a co-
operative located in Pongola (n¼38; 10.4%) approximately
200 km away from the study site, the local supermarket (n¼16;
4.4%) and a salesperson from a pesticide company (n¼9; 2.5%).
When questioned about sources of pesticide information , 105
(28.7%) women reported receiving no pesticide information at
all, 183 (50.0%) received their pesticide information from
a single source and 78 (21.3%) received pesticide information
from multiple sources. Agricultural extension ofcers (AEOs)
were the most common source of pesticide information (n¼128;
34.9%). The second most common source of pesticide informa-
tion were pesticide salespersons (n¼80; 21.9%).
Sixty (16.4%) women had ever attended a training course on
pesticides. The median number of courses attended was two
(range: 1e12). Nearly a quarter of these women (n¼16; 26.7%)
could not remember who had trained them. The others received
training from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries (n¼13; 21.7%), Makhatini co-operative (n¼13; 21.7%),
Mjindi Cotton, a parastatal organisation (n¼8; 13.3%), fellow
farmers (n¼7; 11.7%) and the Agriculture Research Centre
(n¼3, 5.0%).
Safety practices during pesticide mixing and application
The safety practices during pesticide mixing and application
described below refer to the women (n¼366) who sprayed their
own pesticides.
Reading pesticide labels
Only 85 (23.2%) of the women could read English and 69
(18.9%) reported ever reading the pesticide labels. Sixty ve
women (17.8%) read the label for mixing instructions and the
correct crops to spray, 62 (16.9%) for precautions to take and 59
(16.1%) for possible health consequences from exposure. When
shown the pictograms, 64 (17.5%) women correctly interpreted
the keep locked away and out of reach of children pictogram
and 95 (25.9%) women correctly interpreted the second picto-
gram wash after use. Women who had ever attended a pesticide
training course were signicantly more likely to correctly iden-
tify the pictograms as compared to women who had never been
trained (p¼0.02). Women who cor rectly interpreted the keep
locked away and out of reach of children pictogram were
signicantly more likely to report locking up pesticides as
compared to women who failed to correctly interpret the
pictogram (p¼0.01). However, there was no signicant differ-
ence with respect to the practice of hand washing after mixing
pesticides among women who correctly or incorrectly inter-
preted the wash after use pictogram.
Safety practices when mixing and applying pesticides
Twenty (5.5%) of the sprayers (n¼366) did not mix pesticides, as
this was done by the farm owner, while 346 (94.5%) mixed and
applied pesticides themselves. The majority of women (n¼322;
93.1%) mixed pesticides outdoors. In total, 329 (95.1%) women
reported measuring pesticides when mixing, of whom, 134
(38.7%) and 131 (37.9%) reported using a scale and their hands,
respectively, to measure the pesticides. Most women (n¼211;
60.9%) mixed their pesticides directly in the knapsack spray
container. Women on the irrigation scheme were signicantly
more likely to mix their pesticides in the knapsack spray
container (p¼0.01), while dryland women were signicantly
more likely to mix pesticides in a bucket (p¼0.01) as compared
to their counterparts.
When applying pesticides, the majority of women (n¼340,
92.9%) used a manual knapsack pesticide applicator, while the
remaining women used their bare hands (n¼12; 3.3%), brooms
(n¼8; 2.2%), diesel operated knapsacks (n¼4; 1.1%) and buckets
(n¼2; 0.6%).
When mixing and applying, 196 (56.7%) and 201 (54.9%)
women, respectively, reported using some form of PPE. The PPE
most frequently used was boots followed by coats and overalls.
Gloves, masks and eye protection were less frequently reported
Table 1 Demographic details of women working in agriculture
Variable n[803 (%) Mean Range
Age (years) Sprayers 361 (44.9) 41.5 18e80
Non-sprayers 423 (52.7) 42.1 18e82
Years of education Sprayers 208 (25.9) 6.8 1e12
Non-sprayers 249 (31.0) 7.0 1e12
Length of residence on the
Makhatini Flats (years)*
Sprayers 350 (43.6) 25.6 1e80
Non-sprayers 404 (50.3) 23.2 1e76
Years spent working
in agriculture*
Sprayers 253 (31.5) 8.5 1e37
Non-sprayers 283 (35.2) 7.1 1e50
Independent t test:
a
¼0.05.
*p<0.05.
Occup Environ Med 2010;67:823e828. doi:10.1136/oem.2010.055863 825
Original article
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by the women. Women on the irrigation scheme were signi-
cantly more likely to use boots when mixing (p<0.001) and
spraying (p<0.001) as compared to women in the drylands
(table 2).
The respondents were asked about the presence of workers in
the eld during pesticide application. Fifteen women (4.1%)
worked alone. Seventy seven (21.0%) women indicated that
workers were present in the eld when application took place,
while the majority of women (n¼274; 74.9%) indicated that no
workers were present in the elds when application took place.
In total, 289 women (78.9%) (including those who worked
alone) followed waiting periods of varying duration after pesti-
cide application before returning to the elds. Approximately
82.4% (n¼238) of the 289 applicators waited more than 24 h,
while 15.2% (n¼44), 1.4% (n¼4) and 1.0% (n¼3) waited more
than 4 h but less than 24 h, less than 4 h, and less than 30 min,
respectively.
Storage safety, personal hygiene and practice
The majority of women (n¼162; 44.3%) reported storing
pesticides outside in the open (either in the vicinity of their
home or their elds), while 155 (42.4%) stored pesticides in
a special room outside their home set aside for pesticides, and 49
(13.4%) stored pesticides inside their home. Forty (10.9%)
reported locking up the pesticides.
The majority of women who mixed (n¼346) pesticides
reported washing their hands after mixing (n¼343; 99.1%) and
of these 294 (84.9%) reported using soap to wash their hands. A
limited number of women reported washing their PPE (n¼167;
45.6%), of whom 162 (44.3%) used soap and water to wash their
PPE.
Twelve (3.3%), 7 (1.9%) and 2 (0.6%) women reported storing
their pesticides with clothing, food and water, respectively.
Eighteen (4.9%) and 13 (3.6%) women, respectively, reported
using empty pesticide containers to carry water and wash
clothing. Fifteen (4.1%) and 13 (3.6%) women, respectively,
reported using the empty containers to burn paper and plastic.
Among the remaining 307 women, 171 (55.6%) bur nt the
containers, 72 (23.6%) buried the containers, 43 (13.9%) threw
the containers away with domestic waste and 21 (6.9%) reused
the containers for pesticides.
Safety behaviour principal components
Three principal components were identied, each relating to an
aspect of safety behaviour. In the rst component variables
loaded on the frequency of and reasons for reading pesticide
labels loaded, the second on use of personal protective equip-
ment during mixing and spraying of pesticides and the third
component on sources of pesticide information. The prevalence
of the three components was higher among women on the
Table 2 Safety practices during pesticide mixing and application
Irrigation scheme Drylands
Mixing n[116 (%) n[230 (%)
Site of mixing pesticides Outdoors 110 (94.8) 212 (92.2)
Indoors 6 (5.2) 18 (7.8)
Method of measuring pesticides Scale 40 (34.5) 94 (40.9)
Bare hands 51 (43.9) 80 (34.8)
Measuring cup 19 (16.4) 30 (13.0)
Hand-made scoopy 2 (1.7) 12 (5.2)
Method of mixing pesticides In back pack applicator* 82 (70.7) 129 (56.1)
In bucket* 34 (29.3) 101 (43.9)
Use of PPE when mixing Boots** 79 (68.1) 78 (33.9)
Coats/overalls 34 (29.3) 63 (27.4)
Gloves 23 (19.8) 46 (20.0)
Dust masks 18 (15.5) 27 (11.7)
Eye goggles 4 (3.4) 16 (6.9)
Spraying n[126(%) n[240 (%)
Method of pesticide application Manual back pack applicator 119 (94.4) 221 (92.1)
Bare hands 1 (0.8) 11 (4.6)
Broom 3 (2.4) 5 (2.1)
Diesel operated back pack applicator 2 (1.6) 2 (0.80)
Bucket 1 (0.8) 1 (0.4)
Use of PPE when spraying Boots** 85 (67.5) 77 (32.8)
Gloves 21 (16.7) 45 (18.8)
Coats/overalls 36 (28.6) 59 (24.6)
Masks 18 (14.3) 28 (11.7)
Eye goggles 4 (2.8) 15 (6.3)
Prevalence of components of safety behaviour among sprayers n[126 (%) n[240 (%)
Frequency of/reasons for reading
pesticide labels* z
72 (57.1) 111 (46.3)
Use of personal protective equipmentx 65 (51.6) 118 (49.2)
Sources of pesticide information* { 71 (56.4) 112 (46.7)
*p<0.05; **p<0.001;
c
2
test.
yA 2-litre plastic bottle is cut 1/3 from the bottle base to form a ‘hand-made scoop’. Variables loading on principal components:
zfrequency of reading pesticide labels, reading labels for: mixing instructions, health effects, crops to spray, precautions to take when spraying;
xfrequency of using gloves, goggles, masks, boots, overcoats when mixing and spraying pesticides;
{frequency of obtaining pesticide information from newspapers, television, books.
826 Occup Environ Med 2010;67:823e828. doi:10.1136/oem.2010.055863
Original article
group.bmj.com on November 19, 2010 - Published by oem.bmj.comDownloaded from

Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A general lack of training and knowledge regarding the safe use of pesticides in all farming systems but especially among small-scale farmers is pointed out, likely results in occupational and environmental health risks.
Abstract: Chemical pesticides, regardless of their inherent hazard, are used intensively in the fast changing agricultural sector of Ethiopia. We conducted a cross-sectional pesticide Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey among 601 farmers and farm workers (applicators and re-entry workers) in three farming systems [large-scale closed greenhouses (LSGH), large-scale open farms (LSOF), and small-scale irrigated farms (SSIF)]. Main observations were that 85% of workers did not attain any pesticide-related training, 81% were not aware of modern alternatives for chemical pesticides, 10% used a full set of personal protective equipment, and 62% did not usually bath or shower after work. Among applicators pesticide training attendance was highest in LSGH (35%) and was lowest in SSIF (4%). None of the female re-entry farm workers had received pesticide-related training. Personal protective equipment use was twice as high among pesticide applicators as among re-entry workers (13 versus 7%), while none of the small-scale farm workers used personal protection equipment. Stockpiling and burial of empty pesticide containers and discarding empty pesticide containers in farming fields were reported in both LSOF and by 75% of the farm workers in SSIF. Considerable increment in chemical pesticide usage intensity, illegitimate usages of DDT and Endosulfan on food crops and direct import of pesticides without the formal Ethiopian registration process were also indicated. These results point out a general lack of training and knowledge regarding the safe use of pesticides in all farming systems but especially among small-scale farmers. This in combination with the increase in chemical pesticide usage in the past decade likely results in occupational and environmental health risks. Improved KAP that account for institutional difference among various farming systems and enforcement of regulatory measures including the available occupational and environmental proclamations in Ethiopia are urgently needed.

128 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Unlike the practice in several other developing countries, small-scale farmers in Uganda do not use the most hazardous pesticides, however use of WHO class II pesticides and those of lower toxicity is seen in combination with inadequate knowledge and practice among the farmers.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Over the past years there has been an increase in the use of pesticides in developing countries. This study describes pesticide use among small-scale farmers in Uganda and analyses predictors of pesticide poisoning (intoxication) symptoms. METHOD: A cross-sectional study was conducted using a standardized questionnaire. Some 317 small-scale farmers in two districts in Uganda were interviewed about pesticide use, knowledge and attitude, symptoms of intoxication, personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene. The risk of reporting symptoms was analysed using logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: The most frequently used pesticides belonged to WHO class II. The farmers had poor knowledge about pesticide toxicity, and the majority did not use appropriate PPE nor good hygiene when handling pesticides. There was no significant association between the number of times of spraying with pesticides and self-reported symptoms of pesticide poisoning. The only significant association was between blowing and sucking the nozzle of the knapsack sprayer and self-reported symptoms of pesticide intoxication (OR: 2.13. 95% CI: 1.09 - 4.18). CONCLUSION: Unlike the practice in several other developing countries, small-scale farmers in Uganda do not use the most hazardous pesticides (WHO class 1a and 1b). However use of WHO class II pesticides and those of lower toxicity is seen in combination with inadequate knowledge and practice among the farmers. This poses a danger of acute intoxications, chronic health problems and environmental pollution. Training of farmers in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods, use of proper hygiene and personal protective equipment when handling pesticides should be promoted. Language: en

91 citations


Cites background from "Pesticide safety training and pract..."

  • ...Forty to ninety percent of the farmers were expected to use pesticides [1,15,17,20]....

    [...]

  • ...There has been expressed concern about female farmers spraying and the need for more data on gender differences in response to pesticides exposure [1,24]....

    [...]

  • ...Background The balance between population increase and sufficient food production is one of the most important challenges in many African countries, including Uganda [1]....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The study presents a clear framework for better understanding and assessing farmers' safety behavior in pesticide use, and provides valuable inputs for the design of effective interventions that could support farmers in the implementation of safety measures in Iran.

87 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the use and application status of pesticides in Nepal is analyzed to aware the society about adverse effects of chemical pesticides in the environment.Pesticidal misuse is being a serious concern mainly in the commercial pocket areas of agricultural production, where farmers are suffering from environmental pollution.
Abstract: Majority of the farmers are unaware of pesticide types, level of poisoning, safety precautions and potential hazards on health and environment. According to the latest estimate, the annual import of pesticides in Nepal is about 211t a.i. with 29.19% insecticides, 61.38% fungicides, 7.43% herbicides and 2% others. The gross sale value accounts US $ 3.05 million per year. Average pesticides use in Nepal is 142 g a.i./ha, which is very low as compared to other Asian counties. The focus of this paper is to analyze the use and application status of pesticides in Nepal to aware the society about adverse effects of chemical pesticides in the environment . Pesticidal misuse is being a serious concern mainly in the commercial pocket areas of agricultural production, where farmers are suffering from environmental pollution. Incidence of poisoning is also increasing because of intentional, incidental and occupational exposure. Toxic and environmentally persistent chemicals are being used as pesticides. Many studies showed that the chemical pollution of the environment has long-term effects on human life. It is therefore essential that manufacture, use, storage, transport and disposal of chemical pesticides be strictly regulated. The Journal of Agriculture and Environment Vol:13, Jun.2012, Page 67-72 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/aej.v13i0.7590

78 citations


Cites background from "Pesticide safety training and pract..."

  • ...In many developing countries like Nepal, most pesticides are associated with adverse effects on human health and environment due to inappropriate use and handling of pesticides by inadequately trained farm workers (Naidoo et al., 2010)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: There is a recognizable need for a life-long education program with training to change the perception and behavior of pesticide handlers sustainably.

54 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
Jules Pretty1
TL;DR: Agricultural sustainability suggests a focus on both genotype improvements through the full range of modern biological approaches and improved understanding of the benefits of ecological and agronomic management, manipulation and redesign.
Abstract: Concerns about sustainability in agricultural systems centre on the need to develop technologies and practices that do not have adverse effects on environmental goods and services, are accessible to and effective for farmers, and lead to improvements in food productivity. Despite great progress in agricultural productivity in the past half-century, with crop and livestock productivity strongly driven by increased use of fertilizers, irrigation water, agricultural machinery, pesticides and land, it would be over-optimistic to assume that these relationships will remain linear in the future. New approaches are needed that will integrate biological and ecological processes into food production, minimize the use of those non-renewable inputs that cause harm to the environment or to the health of farmers and consumers, make productive use of the knowledge and skills of farmers, so substituting human capital for costly external inputs, and make productive use of people's collective capacities to work together to solve common agricultural and natural resource problems, such as for pest, watershed, irrigation, forest and credit management. These principles help to build important capital assets for agricultural systems: natural; social; human; physical; and financial capital. Improving natural capital is a central aim, and dividends can come from making the best use of the genotypes of crops and animals and the ecological conditions under which they are grown or raised. Agricultural sustainability suggests a focus on both genotype improvements through the full range of modern biological approaches and improved understanding of the benefits of ecological and agronomic management, manipulation and redesign. The ecological management of agroecosystems that addresses energy flows, nutrient cycling, population-regulating mechanisms and system resilience can lead to the redesign of agriculture at a landscape scale. Sustainable agriculture outcomes can be positive for food productivity, reduced pesticide use and carbon balances. Significant challenges, however, remain to develop national and international policies to support the wider emergence of more sustainable forms of agricultural production across both industrialized and developing countries.

1,365 citations


"Pesticide safety training and pract..." refers background in this paper

  • ...The government has to introduce a policy which has a twofold approach of regulating pesticide sale and use with a view to implementing restrictions and moving towards banning WHO Hazardous Class I a/b pesticides,(35) and promoting programmes which encourage sustainable agriculture.(36) One way of restricting pesticide sales is to ensure that only farmers who have a certificate confirming pesticide safety training by an AEO can purchase pesticides....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: There is growing public concern in developing nations that no one is aware of the extent of pesticide residue contamination on local, fresh produce purchased daily or of potential, long-term, adverse health effects on consumers.

539 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The present article deals with trends and patterns of pesticide use, impact of pesticides on human health, factors contributing to pesticide risks, environmental impacts of pesticides, and bioaccumulation of pesticide residues in food; giving special concern to the situation in Egypt.

217 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, it is argued that a recent shift in land policy, from a focus on the rural poor to emerging black commercial farmers, is consistent with changes in macroeconomic policy and reflects shifting class alliances.
Abstract: Land reform is one way in which the ‘new’ South Africa set out to redress the injustices of apartheid and, by redistributing land to black South Africans, to transform the structural basis of racial inequality. During the first decade of democracy, land reform has fallen far short of both public expectations and official targets. This article describes the progress of the programme and its changing nature. It is argued that a recent shift in land policy, from a focus on the rural poor to ‘emerging’ black commercial farmers, is consistent with changes in macro-economic policy and reflects shifting class alliances. The programme now appears to pursue a limited deracialisation of the commercial farming areas rather than a process of agrarian restructuring. Most fundamentally, land reform has not yet provided a strategy to overcome agrarian dualism. This paper draws on research by the author under the aegis of the ‘Evaluating Land and Agrarian Reform in South Africa’ research programme at the Programme for La...

183 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Low-income marginal farmers were, more often subjected to severe poisoning than were landlords, and typically female tasks such as mixing on centrated chemicals and refilling spraying tanks were as hazardous as direct pesticide application.
Abstract: A season-long assessment of acute pesticide poisoning among farmers was conducted in three villages in India. Fifty female cotton growers reported the adverse effects experienced after exposures to pesticides by themselves and by their male relatives (n = 47). The study documented the serious consequences of pesticide use for the health of farmers, particularly women field helpers. Typically female tasks such as mixing concentrated chemicals and refilling spraying tanks were as hazardous as direct pesticide application. Of 323 reported events, 83.6% were associated with signs and symptoms of mild to severe poisoning, and 10% of the pesticide application sessions were associated with three or more neurotoxic/systemic signs and symptoms typical of poisoning by organophosphates, which were used in 47% of the applications. Although in 6% of the spray sessions the workers’ neurotoxic effects were extremely serious, none sought medical care. Low-income marginal farmers were more often subjected to severe poisoning than were landlords. Key words: pesticide acute poisoning; cotton; India; integrated pest management; gender. INT J OCCUP ENVIRON HEALTH 2005;11:221‐232 A griculture in South India is primarily a subsistence production system that involves 127 million cultivators and 107 million agricultural laborers. Crop productivity in the rain-fed area, which includes more than 70% of the cultivated land, is low and unpredictable. 1 The majority of the population (74.3%) is rural, 2 and 34.7% live below the international poverty level. 3 During the Green Revolution, high-yielding varieties of various crops were introduced into the farming systems to increase productivity. These varieties were significantly more susceptible to plant pests and diseases and, subsequently, the use of pesticides became more intense, increasing from 2,330 kton during 1950‐51 to 54,773 kton in 1990‐91 (Directorate of Plant Protection, 2002, personal communication). Pesticides are largely applied to protect commercial crops. Cotton cultivation alone uses more than 60% of the national consumption. The consequences of such indiscriminate use of pesticides have recently become a matter of public concern in India, following the publication of alarming information about the levels of pesticide residues in

178 citations

Frequently Asked Questions (1)
Q1. What are the contributions in "Pesticide safety training and practices in women working in small-scale agriculture in south africa" ?

This paper describes training and safety practices when mixing and spraying pesticides, and acetylcholinesterase levels among women farmers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A cross-sectional study conducted in women working in small-scale agriculture in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in 2006 assessed pesticide training and safety practices using a questionnaire survey and measured acetylcholinesterase levels in 803 women.