Trained farmers of Nongkrang village (Boproy, Kanchanaburi province) observed and interviewed 19 other vegetable farmers in their community. After these interviews were completed they met several times to analyze the results, which are presented here.
Analysis of pesticides used
Among the 19 farmers they found that 52 different brands of pesticides were being used, which contained 32 different active ingredients. During their analysis, the farmers sorted these chemicals according to the “WHO toxicity classification” and also according to the “chemical family”. Among the 32 chemicals were several highly toxic ones, including 7 chemicals belonging to WHO classes Ia and Ib. The list included 3 chemicals that are banned in Thailand (Azinphos-ethyl, Monocrotophos and Chlordane), 4 chemicals that are currently registered but on the “watch list”, and the controversial herbicide Paraquat. The use of these dangerous chemicals was quite common, with 16% of the farmers using chemicals belonging to class Ia and 42% using chemicals classified as Ib.
Analysis of the volume and frequency of pesticide use
To get an impression of their exposure to chemicals, the farmers analyzed the amounts used. The results show that the 19 farmers together each year spray 111,800 liter of spray solution, which is on average 5,884 liter per person per year. The days that they are at risk to chemical exposure was on average 20.4 days per year (lowest 2 days, highest 52 days). There are clearly big differences between farmers and this exercise showed them who runs the highest risks.
Analysis of spraying behavior
The spraying behavior of 13 farmers was observed and analyzed. The results were used to initiate a discussion on the risks of coming into contact with pesticides. In this discussion it was emphasized that many pesticides can easily enter the body through the skin and that this is the most common way for farmers to get contaminated.
Signs and symptoms
Farmers carried out health studies to detect signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning. They did this by making observations before and after a spraying session. Data on signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning were analyzed from 19 farmers. The results (see tables on this page) were used to summarize the signs and symptoms in 4 levels. Even with this small sample size it is clear that the majority of farmers (58%) are experiencing moderate signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning.
Survey by mango growers Phitsanulok