Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety.J Public Health (Oxf). 2006 Mar; 28(1):43-8.JP
The study was done in three villages in Nueva Ecija, Philippines. It surveys farmers' belief system and pesticide practices relative to health and safety.
Initially it used a simulated market study on willingness to pay for personal protective equipment in the form of gloves and masks. Then a combination of semi-structured, formal, informal, and key-informant interviews, as well as focus groups, and field observations was done intermittently in a span of approximately 12 years.
The farmers perceive illness in terms of inability to function. Pesticide to them may not be a threat because (i) they are immune, (ii) it is regarded as a medicine that is needed by the plants rather than poison, and (iii) exposure is only through inhalation and ingestion not through dermal contact. Added to that, they put value on pasma, and try to prevent it at the cost of exposure to pesticides. These perceptions lead to their practices showing inadequate protection.
There is the need for more health education programs that tap farmers' belief system and cognitive categories to stress the need for precautions.