Health risk and health status of farmers exposed to chemical pesticides used in agriculture
Keywords:agriculture, chemical pesticide, cholinesterase, farmer, health risks, health status, reactive paper
Pesticide exposure is one of the most serious health risks among farmers in Thailand. Unsafe and poor pesticide handling practices in agriculture denote a major hazard to human health. This research aimed to assess the health risks of farmers exposed to pesticides and the relationship between farmers’ health risks and their pesticide handling practices. This study was conducted in Mae Chan district, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, from July to September 2018. A purposive sample of 241 respondents constituted the study population. The health risk assessment data was collected using a structured questionnaire and blood test. Quantitative data were analyzed by descriptive statistics. Pearson’s Correlation and Chi-square test were used to identify the relationship between variables. The results show that more than 50% of the respondents were over 50 years old. The most common pesticide-related symptoms were dizziness, coughs and headaches. Poor handling and use of pesticides such as leaking spraying tanks, smoking while working, and eating food and drinking alcohol in the work area were observed. The health of farmers needs to be surveyed because more than half of the respondents were at risk. Farmers’ health risks are associated with their handling of pesticides. Moreover, the use of personal protective equipment should be recommended to farmers for their safety whenever there is a possibility of being exposed to chemical pesticides.
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