Factors Associated with Pesticide Risk Behaviors among Rice Farmers in Rural Community, Thailand

Buppha Raksanam, Surasak Taneepanichskul, Wattasit Siriwong, Mark G. Robson


The need to use large amounts of pesticides has raised environmental health and human health concerns. Several reports reveal that many farmers in Thailand continue to be poisoned through unsafe practices in the use of pesticides. Few studies exist that examine pesticide risk behaviors and beliefs among rice farmers in Thailand. The study objective was to evaluate health beliefs and behaviors associated with pesticide risk behaviors among rice farmers in the Khlong Seven community from March to December 2010. Data collection from 482 rice farmers was completed by observation, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions. We found the main potential exposure pathways included: take-home exposure; ingestion from food intake, especially vegetables and drinking water; environment risks, especially the proximity of family homes to farms, spray drift areas, and; the most concern stemmed from their practice. Major factors of pesticide poisoning in the Khlong Seven community were the unsafe use of pesticides including erroneous beliefs of farmers about pesticide toxicity, lack of attention to safety precautions, environmental hazards, and information about first aid and antidotes written on the container labels, the use of faulty spraying equipment or lack of proper maintenance of spraying equipment, and wearing protective gear and appropriate clothing during the handling of pesticides. This study concludes that an intervention program is necessary to improve safer pesticide behaviors and to decrease pesticide exposure among rice farmers in Khlong Seven community.

Keywords: rice farmers, pesticide exposure, risk behaviors, rural community

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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