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Determinants of pesticide safety behavior among Iranian rice farmers

Sharifzadeh, Mohammad Sharif, Abdollahzadeh, Gholamhossein, Damalas, Christos A., Rezaei, Rohollah, Ahmadyousefi, Mehdi
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.651 pp. 2953-2960
adverse effects, developing countries, education, farmers, farmers' attitudes, hygiene, pesticide application, pesticides, rice, risk, safety equipment, surveys, Iran
Safety behaviors in pesticide use are considered the most important determinants of the adverse health effects among farmers. In addition, the risk of pesticide exposure is strongly associated with farmers' behavior when working with pesticides. However, there is limited understanding of farmers' safety behavior and its determinants, particularly in developing countries like Iran. A field survey of 373 rice producers was conducted in Mazandaran Province of northern Iran to study determinants of farmers' safety behavior when working with pesticides. Although farmers' safety behavior varied depending on the type of safety measures adopted, few farmers showed safe behaviors in using personal protective equipment (PPE) (8.9%), in following appropriate practices in pesticide use (8.6%), in following hygiene practices after using pesticides (2.7%), and in avoiding health risks (2.4%). The mean scores of importance of all four components of safety behavior were higher than the mean scores of their current use, implying that perceptions of importance of various types of safety measures during pesticide application were not fully reflected in farmers' practices. Perceived barriers of using safety measures were the most reliable predictor of farmers' safety behavior in pesticide use. Perceived barriers of using safety measures and mean number of pesticide applications per cropping season had a negative impact on farmers' safety behaviors. By contrast, the variables education, level of self-consumed production in the household, experience of health risks related to working with pesticides, regular health check-ups, and perception of pesticide hazards promoted farmers' safety behaviors. The study not only presents a clear framework for better understanding and assessing farmers' safety behavior in pesticide use, but also provides valuable inputs for the design of effective interventions that could support farmers in the implementation of safety measures in Iran.