Pesticide Handling and Pesticide Container Disposal Measures in Northeastern Jamaica

Pesticide safety and the disposal of agricultural pesticide containers remain a major problem in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Instances of pesticide contamination of ecosystems through improper container disposal have been reported in Jamaica. Containers after use pose human and environmental risk as containers are disposed or recycled into the agricultural production system. However, there has been little information on safe handling of pesticides and how farmers dispose of their pesticide containers; their awareness and motivation for proper handling and disposal of the pesticide containers after use. In 2006, we conducted a study of 359 farmers in the Northwestern section of Jamaica to evaluate their handling practices of pesticide and how they disposed of their pesticide containers. We investigated the knowledge of farmers of the dangers of pesticide to humans, animals and the ecosystem as well as their perception of the process of entry in their bodies and their methods of disposal of the pesticide containers. Logistic models were developed to determine the factors influencing farmers’ decisions to adopt pesticide handling safety practices and the methods of disposal of the pesticide containers. Nested models were compared using AIC and ROC curves. Farmers used gloves (43.3%), masks (43.2 %), and goggles (12.2%) when handling pesticides. The equipment farmers used for the application of pesticides included backpack/knapsack sprayers (68%), while 28 % used other hand-held equipment. About 49 % of farmers burned their empty containers, 26% buried their containers and 18% dumped them in the bushes. If farmers knew the difference between a herbicide and a fungicide they were less likely (odds ratio (OR)=0.56) to use gloves; however, if they received short term training on pesticide handling they were more likely (OR=1.09) to use gloves. If farmers thought that the pesticide entered their bodies through the skin they were more likely (OR=2.43) to wear masks, while if they knew the difference between a herbicide and a fungicide they were less (OR=0.43) likely to wear one. Short term training on pesticide use and safety increased the odds (OR=1.17) of farmers wearing masks. The chance of farmers wearing goggles increased (OR=2.74) if they knew that the chemicals entered their body through the skin, whereas if they knew the difference between a fungicide and a herbicide they were less (OR=0.59) likely to wear goggles, but short term training in the use and safety of pesticides increased the odds (OR=1.15) of them wearing goggles. Farmers were more (OR=10.43) likely to burn the pesticide containers if they thought that the pesticides entered their body through the mouth. Farmers with at least some primary education were less likely (OR=0.14) to burn empty pesticide containers. If the farmers knew the difference between a fungicide and a herbicide they were (OR=1.28) times more likely to burn the empty containers. The probability of burying the empty container increased (OR=9.52) if they thought that pesticides entered the body through breathing. This probability decreased if they knew the difference between a herbicide and a fungicide (OR=4.96) or if they used hand-held equipment or backpacks (OR=2.94). However, farmers who believed that there was a relationship between pesticide runoff and human health were less likely (OR=0.33) to dispose of the empty container through burying. Farmers were less likely (OR=0.16) to dump their empty containers in the bushes if they thought that pesticides entered their body through the mouth. The port of entry of chemicals to the body, short term training and the farmers’ knowledge of the difference between a fungicide and a herbicide were most influential in determining the safety measures used in pesticide handling and methods of empty pesticide container disposal.


Issue Date:
2011
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/187393
Total Pages:
1




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-28

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