Pesticide Exposure and Health Risks: The Case of Pesticide Traders

Jovita O. Esechie


There is a paucity of information worldwide on the health problems among pesticide traders that are occupationally exposed to pesticides. A study was conducted in the Sultanate of Oman to investigate pesticide handling and their health risk perception by pesticide traders, and how these are impacted by their level of education, training, and the use of personal protection equipment (PPE). A total of 63 traders were randomly selected in four Regions (Al Batinah, Al Dhahirah, Al Dakhiliyah and Al Sharqiyah) in the Sultanate of Oman. Participation was based on full informed consent and assurances of confidentiality. The survey adopted the interview format, using hard copies of questionnaires. About 90% of the traders with formal pesticide training used some form of PPE, compared to 19% among those with no pesticide training. All (100%) of the trained traders had knowledge of pesticide regulations, informed customers on the proper use of pesticides and knew that pesticides could be dangerous. The corresponding percentages among the untrained traders were 13, 12 and 60, respectively. Among all the traders, the most reported health symptoms were headache (73%), skin irritation (71.4%) and salivation (63.5%). In as much as many farm workers and other pesticide end-users depend on the traders for information on pesticides, it is suggested that training be made mandatory for all pesticide traders. The use of PPE should also be made mandatory and pesticide inspectors should be made to inspect the pesticide shops regularly to ensure compliance.

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