Risk rating of pesticide exposure among agricultural workers in a community, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province
This study aimed to evaluate risk rating of pesticide exposure among agricultural workers in one of the local communities in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. The study was conducted from April to October 2016. A total of 202 farm workers participated in this study. The data were collected using structured questionnaires. Chemical hazard risk assessment was investigated according to a manual of recommended practice on assessment of the health risks arising from the use of chemicals hazardous to health at the workplace, Malaysia. The data obtained from this study were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results showed that most of workers were male (59.9%) with age between 50-59 years (27.7%), and the duration of agricultural work experience between 10-20 years (32.2%). The most commonly used pesticide was abamectin, which accounts for approximately 63.9%. Carbofuran and paraquat dichloride were two pesticides classified at risk level 4, whereas abamectin, chlorpyrifos, glyphosate-isopropylammonium, copper hydroxide, carbendazim, and alphacypermethrin were classified at risk level 3. However, both risk levels are in the category 1, which is considered an unacceptable risk that needs to be addressed immediately. It is recommended that primary health care units work collaboratively with local administrative organizations to conduct the health surveillance program, annual pesticide exposure monitoring, and agricultural workers trainings including substitution of currently-used chemicals with less toxic chemicals, personal protective equipment selection, and chemical safety practices to prevent adverse health effects from pesticide exposure. The outcomes of this study could be used for determination of safety levels of pesticide exposure and a potential ban on the use of high-risk pesticides in the agricultural sector.
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