Pesticide-related safety risks among vegetable farmers: A Cross Sectional Study
This study was conducted to assess the pesticide-related safety risks that Benguet farmers face on a regular basis. Pesticide residue in soil and crops, as well as farmers’ knowledge and practices on pesticide were assessed. Methods consisted of survey questionnaire among 38 farmers, and the use of gas chromatography for the analysis of soil and crop samples. All farmers used more than one type of pesticide, most of whom used three types (73.7%). The most common was organophosphate (45.2%). Twelve of the identified pesticide brands were insecticides while the remaining two were fungicides. Twenty-three practiced cocktailing of pesticides (60.5%), mostly to save time. The most common PPE used while spraying pesticides were gas masks, gloves and boots. For the soil and crop samples, 3 soil samples were positive for Chlorpyrifos, two of which exceeded the maximum residue level (MRL). Of the 3 that were positive for Cypermethrin, all exceeded the MRL. Caution must be exercised when handling these potentially harmful pesticides. Proper equipment maintenance, cleaning and storage must be observed to prevent unnecessary pesticide exposure. Pesticide companies and the agricultural branches of the government must work towards adequate user education, focusing on safe handling of pesticides.
Keywords: Pesticide, Safety risk, Farmers, Vegetable Industry