Pesticide Application Poisoning Incident among Iranian Rice

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International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences. Vol., 3 (2), 378-382, 2012
Available online at http://www.ecisi.com
ISSN 2251-838X ©2012 ECISI Journals
Pesticide Application Poisoning Incident among Iranian Rice Growers and Factors
Influence It
Marzban A. (1), Sheikdavoodi M. J. (1), Almassi M.(1),Bahrami H. (1),Abdeshahi A.(2), Shishebor P. (3)
1,3- Respectively, Departments of Agricultural Machinery Engineering and Mechanization, and Entomology,
Faculty of Agriculture, ShahidChamran University, Ahwaz, Iran.
2- Agricultural Economics Dep., Ramin Agricultural and Natural Resources University, Mollasani, Iran
Corresponding Author Email :[email protected]
ABSTRACT: Agriculture ranks among the most dangerous industries. Farmers are at very
high risk for incidents. Chemical products were used to alter life cycles of living pest organisms
and improper handling of them is dangerous to involved people. However, acute poisoning
during spraying operation is an important health problem among farm workers and operators,
but there is a substantial lack of data and studies from Iran to investigate unsafe acts and
conditions, poisoning prevalence and factors could be effective in fostering pesticide
application safety. Data were collected on 110 rice farm households using surveys and field
observations in Fars Province of southern Iran. Acute poisoning prevalence and unsafe acts and
conditions affecting it were investigated. An unsafe composite score, translating unsafe acts and
conditions into score was developed. Chi-square test was performed to assess the association of
acute pesticide poisoning with pesticide applicators’ characteristics and their unsafe acts and
conditions. This study revealed that 12.7% of pesticide applicators suffered acute pesticide
poisoning. The results showed pesticide applicators acute poisoning can be traced to unsafe
practices in handling pesticide, personal protective behaviors and equipment malfunction. This
study also showed None of applicators had received safety instruction. Safety training on
proper pesticide handling could minimize chemicals risk factors. This study revealed how
urgently needed such training programs are.
Keywords: Iran, acute poisoning, applicator safety
Introduction
Due to generally simple-to-use, fast-acting, and effective attributes to manage the majorityof pest
problems, chemical pesticides remain an integral part of agricultural activities in many parts of the world.
Chemicals have a key role in agricultural production systems. These products were made to alter life cycles of
living pest organisms and improper handling of them is dangerous to involved people. Accidental exposure to
pesticides can have serious implications. The potential for pesticide accidents is real. Poisoning during
spraying operation is an important health problem among farm workers and operators. Based on WHO
reports, about one million serious pesticide poisoning occure each year.
Acute exposure refers to intake of a single dose or to a series of exposures within a short time period (e.g. one
day). Usually the effects of acute exposure, if any, occur within 24 hours. Chronic exposure is the exposure to
pesticides over an extended period of time, such as where a pesticide applicator is frequently wetted with
spray during unsafe spray practices. Pesticides which have a tendency to accumulate, or which break down
slowly in body tissues, usually represent the greatest chronic exposure hazard. Someone who is frequently
exposed to low doses of such pesticides may develop symptoms of poisoning long after the first exposure
(Schulze etal, 2001). The toxicity of a pesticide is determined by laboratory testing on animals such as rats,
Intl. Res. J. Appl. Basic. Sci. Vol., 3 (2), 378-382, 2012
mice and rabbits. The measuring method, LD50 (lethal dose, 50 percent), describes the dose of a pesticide that
will kill half of a group of test animals from a single exposure (dose) by either the dermal, oral or inhalation
routes (Matthews, 2008). In 2008 year, more than 26 million liters of pesticide were used in Iran (Baghestani,
2009). Despite this concentration of chemicals in the Iran agricultural, there are no studies on farmworker
safety and risky behavior to pesticide exposure. Little studies conducted only surveyed Farmers' knowledge of
occupational poisonings and their perceptions and attitudes in this area (Hosseini etal, 2009; Ghasemi and
karami, 2009). But there is a substantial lack of data and studies to investigate unsafe acts and conditions,
poisoning prevalence and factors could be effective in fostering pesticide application safety in Iran
Agricultural sector. This study was conducted by the need to document the acute pesticide poisoning and
factors affecting it among applicators in rice cash crop in Iran.
Materials and Methods
In this study rice growers of Beiza district in Fars province were surveyed about pesticide poisoning signs and
symptoms they suffered during or whithin 24 hours after spraying. They also were asked about safety
knowledge, personal protective equipments (PPEs), spraying equipment malfunction, socioeconomic
parameteres such as age, formal education, and other safe or unsafe acts and conditions. Data were collected
on 110 rice farm households. Pesticide Applicators who reported to have two or more symptoms whithin 24
hours after spraying were considered to have suffered acute pesticide poisoning (Schulze etal, 2001; Mancini
etal, 2005). Data were analyzed with SPSS statistics software. Chi-square test was performed to assess the
association of acute pesticide poisoning with pesticide applicator characteristics and safe or unsafe acts and
conditions. The correlation between unsafe composite score and acute poisoning were examined. For this
purpose based on the literature, we asked the respondents about nine safe or unsafe acts and conditions that
were thought to increase the risk of acute pesticide poisoning (Cabrera, N. L. 2009; Zhang etal, 2011, Arcury
etal. 2002; John Deere Co., 1984) Respondents could answer yes, no, or don’t know. The questions are listed
below:
1. Did you read pesticides labels to acquire safety information before application? (no= 1, yes = 0)
2. Did you prepare pesticides with bare hand? (no =0, yes = 1)
3. Did you use personal protecting equipment/clothing during application? (no = 1, yes = 0)
4. Did you eat, drink or use tobacco during application? (yes = 1, no = 0)
5. Did you wipe sweat with your hands during application? (yes = 1, no = 0)
6. Was your spraying equipment leaking during application? (yes = 1, no = 0)
7. Did you avoid physical contact with liquid pesticides during application? (no = 1, yes= 0);
8. Did you use your mouth to clean nozzle or hose? (yes = 1, no= 0)
9. Did you take a bath after pesticide application? (no = 1, yes = 0).
A composite score, translating unsafe acts and conditions into score was developed. The composite score
could range from 0 to 9, was calculated by adding the responses. Larger score represented a higher number of
risk behaviors based on the above coding. In our analysis, we examined the association between each
behavior and the prevalence of acute pesticide poisoning. The correlation between each behavior with acute
pesticide poisoning was also analyzed.
Results and Discussion
All studied pesticide applicators were male. The average ages of applicators were 39.5 years (range 26-71).
Ninty percent of the total study sample had received at least a primary education. None of applicators had
received safety instruction. In this study 14 cases of acute pesticide poisoning (12.7%). Table 1, shows acute
pesticide poisoning prevalence by personal protective behaviors and conditions.
The average unsafe composite score of applicators was 4.1 (range 0-9) Applicators who reported unsafe
behaviors and conditions such as spraying equipment malfunction, no acquiring safety information by reading
label, no using personal protecting equipment or clothing, Using tobacco, eating or drinking during
application, no avoiding body contact with pesticide, using mouth to clean nozzle and no taking a bath after
pesticide application had significantly higher percentage of acute poisoning than applicators who didn’t do
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Intl. Res. J. Appl. Basic. Sci. Vol., 3 (2), 378-382, 2012
unsafe behaviors (all p 0.01). Applicators who prepared pesticides with bare hand and wiped sweat with
hand had higher prevalance of acute poisoning than applicators who didn’t do these unsafe acts, however the
difference between them was not statistically significant. 41.8% of applicators reported leakage from their
sprayers. This means poor maintenace and repairment status of spraying equipments. 40% of applicators
didn’t use any PPEs and protective clothing.
Table 1, Association of acute pesticide poisoning with personal protective behaviors and safe conditions
Response
Safety acts and conditions
Spraying equipment malfunction (Leakage)
Prepare pesticides with bare hand
Acquire safety information by reading label
Use personal protecting equipment or clothing
Use tobacco, eat or drink
Wipe sweat with hand
Avoid body contact with pesticide
Use mouth to clean nozzle
Take a bath after pesticide application
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
n
Acute poisoning (%)
P- value*
46
64
34
76
51
59
66
44
50
60
22
88
68
42
64
46
68
42
23.9
4.6
26.4
11.8
0
23.7
6.2
22.7
24
3.3
4.5
14.7
5.8
23.8
6.25
21.7
5.8
23.8
0.004
0.759
0.000
0.017
0.001
0.294
0.009
0.018
0.009
*Chi-sqaure statistical test of difference in acute poisoning%
Table 2, presents relationship between application behaviors and conditions, applicators age and education
level with acute poisoning.
Table 2, correlation between selected independent variables and acute pesticide poisoning
P- value*
0.789
Variables
Age
r
0.069
Education level
- 0.92
0.293
Sprayer malfunction (Leakage)
0.285
0.003**
Preapare pesticides with bare hand
0.04
0.678
Acquire safety information by reading label
0.355
0.000***
Use personal protecting equipment or clothing
0.245
0.011*
Use tobacco, eat or drink
0.309
0.001**
Wipe sweat with hand
0.123
0.2
Avoid body contact with pesticide
0.261
0.006**
Use mouth to clean nozzle
0.229
0.016*
Take a bath after pesticide application
0.261
0.006**
Uunsafe composite score (addition of nine application acts and conditions score)
0.462
0.000***
Note. *: p<0.05; **: p<0.01; ***: p<0.001
The results showed that age, education level had no significat relationship with acute poisoning. Among
application behaviors which had significant relationship with poisoning, acquiring safety information by
reading pesticide label, had highest correlation (r=0.355). Correlation between unsafe composite score and
acute poisoning was 0.462. The 12.7% acute pesticide poisoning prevalence was found in this study, are
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Intl. Res. J. Appl. Basic. Sci. Vol., 3 (2), 378-382, 2012
higher than those reported in other countries (9.9% and 8.8% in China, zhang etal., (2011), London and
Bailie, (2001), United states, calvert etal., (2008)). Of 14 poisoned applicators, only 2 persons were reffered
to medical clinic for treatment and rest of them rely on self medication. Acquiring safety information and
other protective behaviors significantly resulted in lower percentage of pesticide poisoning. Although not
significantly, but, there was a slight negative relationship (not shown here) between educational level and
reading pesticides’ MSDS (material safety data sheet). This addresses that improvement in pesticide
application safety through enhancing safety knowledge to raise awareness about pesticide exposure risk and
adverse health consequences needs different special training modes. Based on results of this study, there was
a significant correlation between unsafe behaviors and poisoning incidents, and this means mitigating the risk
of pesticide application requires behavioral changes.
In recent years, increasing efforts haven done to develop safer alternatives to pesticides, especially in cash
crops like rice, but economic realities may influence these efforts. Expired, banned and illegally imported
pesticides were utilized in large scale in the studied region. This unreasonable utilization not only increases
health risks but also reduces pesticide effectiveness.
Results of this study suggest that pesticide safety education and use of protective application methods could
be effective in reducing the risk of acute pesticide poisoning. Safety training on proper and safe pesticide
handling could minimize chemicals risk factors. This study revealed how urgently needed such training
programs are. Different effective training modes, preferably, oral presentations and storytelling programs
should be developed and enforced. In addition to safety training, improving maintenace and repairment status
of spraying equipments, preparing and distibuting compelete packages of personal protective appliances
among pesticide applicators. is necessary. Health and safety aspects of applicator family should be also
focused. It is recommended, gender oriented future studies, investigate acute pesticide poisoning among
female growers.
Acknowledgements
The authors wish to thank ShahidChamran University Research Council for supporting this study.
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