Exposure to chemical pesticides, especially banned or restricted pesticides, is one of the most common occupational risks among farmers in developing countries. Pesticide toxicity could reduce people’s overall well-being because of sickness and toxicity, resulting in loss of productivity and increased medical expenses. The aims of this study are to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding the use of pesticides among male farmers in Pram Yam Commune and to determine the association between knowledge regarding pesticide use and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
A cross-sectional study design with multistage sampling was conducted in September 2019. The study interviewed 168 male farmers aged 18-55 years with experience using pesticides in the past 3 years from 4 villages in Pram Yam commune. A structured questionnaire adapted from a previous study was used for data collection. Stata version 12 was used for data analysis. Bivariate analysis was used to assess the association between 1) the knowledge on pesticides and PPE used and 2). The level of pesticide exposure with the level of symptoms. The results of the relationship with a p value ? 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
Male farmers had a mean age of 44.5 years old (SD = 7.8). Close to half (47%) of the farmers used pesticides for 3-6 years, and 95.8% sprayed pesticides 1-2 hours/day. Most farmers used insecticides (99.4%), mollucides (97.6%), and herbicides (94.1%). Most people had poor knowledge (91.1%), and close to 70% had a neutral attitude (scored 60%-80%). A total of 22.6% of them were concerned about pesticide use. Eighty-two percent had poor practice (scored < 60%). Close to 23% experienced severe health symptoms, and 54.2% experienced moderate health symptoms within 24 hours after spraying pesticides. Farmers reporting moderate use of PPE had better knowledge (26%) than those reporting poor PPE use (6.2%), with p value = 0.002. Moderate health symptoms were associated with high pesticide exposure (57.9% vs. 44.7%) with p-value = 0.280.
The KAP of pesticide use among male farmers was low. The surveyed male farmers in the community did not take enough protection measures at all. This study revealed that knowledge was the key determinant of PPE use. The findings suggest that farmers urgently need training on safe pesticide use and awareness of health toxicity and symptoms. Provincial or district agriculture offices should make educational materials accessible to groups about pesticide use and its impact on health.