These chemicals are used to control pests, but they can also affect humans who are exposed to pesticides in a number of ways:
- Skin contact. Farmers often get pesticides on their skin when they are mixing the chemical, during spraying and when cleaning their equipment. This is called ‘dermal’ exposure, or skin exposure.
- Breathing. Small drops of chemical easily get into the lungs of farmers when they are spraying pesticides. This is called ‘inhalation’ exposure.
- Swallowing. This can happen as an accident, for example when pesticides are stored close to food. It can also happen deliberately, when somebody uses a pesticide to commit suicide. And of course it happens when food contains residues of pesticides that we applied by the farmers. This is called ‘oral’ exposure.