Pesticides in the Cagayan valley (Philippines): usage, drift patterns and the exposure of farmers differing in income and market access.Commun Agric Appl Biol Sci. 2004; 69(4):765-78.CA
Over the past ten years, the amount and number of different types of pesticides have increased significantly, which led to a growing concern about the possible adverse effects on human health and the environment. This is particularly true for countries where regulations are not strictly implemented and farmers' knowledge of safe handling is often inadequate. This paper discusses the results of a series of spray experiments to determine drift patterns along field boundaries and the exposure of farmers during their usual spraying exercises. Moreover, farmers' pesticide usage and methods of application will be described, and the effects of income and market accessibility on pesticide use patterns will be investigated. It is based on a study conducted in four villages located at increasing distance from the national highway leading to regional markets and connecting the Cagayan Valley in Northeast Luzon with Manila. The 20 pesticides encountered in this study cover 18 different active ingredients, 9 of which are classified by the WHO as 'highly hazardous' or 'moderately hazardous'. The EPA has classified at least 6 of the encountered pesticide formulations as Restricted Use Pesticides. Nevertheless, all pesticides are freely sold in stores or on markets and applied by farmers without personal protection in an unsafe manner. The farmers living nearest to the highway have the highest income and largest farms. Yet they are most at risk, having easiest access to pesticides and spraying the largest quantities of pesticides per hectare, compared to the farmers living at greater distance from the highway. It is recommended to review the list of pesticides approved for use in the Philippines and discern between Restricted and General Use Pesticides. Several recommendations for improving the implementation of pesticide policies and the IPM program are given.