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The level of awareness regarding pesticide use/ handling has been reported in the farms of Kerala and the same has been compared with the adoption pattern and experiences of health risk episodes, in a society with high level of literacy. The understanding on various aspects of pesticide-use has revealed better awareness in certain aspects and poor understanding in certain others. The workers have not been given adequate training to understand the toxicity level by looking at the colour code on the packet, though they have been found aware about the different options available in the market. Often their perceptions of toxicity level of chemicals they handle are not in conformity with the actual situation; they have been found handling toxic chemicals considering them to be safe ones. Despite a high literacy level, most of them do not care to read the instructions and follow them. The study has found that a majority of the respondents are of satisfactory health status by the body mass index values. The short-term health risk upon occupational exposure has been reported very common; its frequency increases as one gets more years of experience in the work. It has been attributed to their inadequate understanding of the toxicity levels, unscientific handling practices and poor personal protective mechanism. The study has highlighted the need for targeted trainings to farm labourers besides farmers on the scientific management of pesticides and undertaking of massive awareness generation programmes.


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