Pesticide Use and Self-Reported Health Symptoms Among Rice Farmers in Zanzibar

Marisa da Silva, Nadja Stadlinger, Aviti J. Mmochi, Cecilia Stålsby Lundborg, Gaetano Marrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

The agrarian population in low- and middle-income countries suffers from a number of adverse health effects due to pesticide exposure. In Zanzibar, the government subsidizes pesticides to enhance local rice production. The objectives of this study were to assess Zanzibar smallholder rice farmers’ pesticide use and self-reported health symptoms in relation to pesticide exposure, training, and use of protective measures and to raise awareness for future local policy formulation. An exploratory cross-sectional interviewer-administered study was conducted among 99 rice farmers. Participants were selected based on convenience sampling and stratified by expected exposure category. The study participants reported using pesticides in World Health Organization (WHO) Class II. Of pesticide users, 61% reported one or more symptoms of possible acute pesticide poisoning. Only 50% of pesticide users had received training in safe handling and application of pesticides, but those who had displayed a higher use of protective measures. Farmers who did not use protective measures were more likely to have reported skin irritation and headache, which, together with eye irritation, were the most commonly reported acute symptoms. The main sociodemographic differences between the expected exposure categories of pesticide users and nonusers were in gender and education level. Scaling up of training in safe handling and application of pesticides is needed. Further studies are required to better understand the mechanisms behind the choice to use pesticides or not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agromedicine
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Agricultural workers
  • chemical safety measures
  • pesticides

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