Egyptian farmers' attitudes and behaviors regarding agricultural pesticides: implications for pesticide risk communication.Risk Anal. 2006 Aug; 26(4):989-95.RA
The need to boost pre- and postharvest agricultural productivity serves as a powerful driving force for developing countries to promote the use of agricultural pesticides. Pesticides are, however, "poisons by design" and poisonings resulting from unsafe use of these chemicals are the most prevalent and serious occupational hazards faced by agricultural workers in developing countries. This article provides the results of a study designed to investigate the extent of unsafe use of pesticides by farmers in one of the largest agricultural areas in Egypt, the farmers' knowledge about pesticides, and their preferred sources of receiving risk information on pesticides. The results of this study show a high level of unsafe use of pesticides and inappropriate methods of disposal of empty pesticide containers. Also, knowledge about pesticides is scant. Notwithstanding that more than half of the farmers obtain regular drinking water from wells, most of the respondents were "not sure" as to whether or not pesticides may contaminate groundwater. The low level of knowledge about pesticides can be attributed to relatively low levels of education and that almost all the respondents have never participated in a pesticide education program. This article concludes with a recommendation for pesticide and pesticide use education programs, especially through "ministry officials" who most of the respondents seem to trust regarding receiving pesticide information.