Indranil Banerjee1, SK Tripathi1, A Sinha Roy2, Parama Sengupta3
1 Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology, Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Medicine, R.G. Kar Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Pharmacology, N.R.S. Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Background: A vast majority of Indian population are engaged in agriculture. While pesticides help in increasing crop production, inappropriate pesticide storage practice and inadequate protective measures frequently causes accidental poisoning among farmers. Objective: The present study was conducted to explore the pattern of pesticide use among farmers in a district of India with an attempt to identify the lacunae in their knowledge and awareness level on risks and hazards of pesticides use. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire based study was conducted in the district of Burdwan, West Bengal, to address the study objective. Data analysis was performed by using descriptive statistical methods: Frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation. Results: In the present study alpha-cypermethrin (46%) was the most commonly used pesticide followed by methyl parathion (25.6%), imidacloprid (16.4%), dichlorvos (7.8%) and phorate (4.2%). The farmers used to store pesticides mostly in cowshed (48.4%) followed by storeroom (29.6%). During spraying of pesticides, farmers experienced headache (29.8%) followed by nausea (26%), burning sensation in eyes (9.8%), cough (9.2%), muscle cramps (2%). Regarding the personal protective measures taken by the farmers for spraying, covering nose, mouth with cloth combined with bath after spraying was the most common practice (27%). When asked about suggested actions to be taken if anybody becomes sick following exposure to pesticides, 86% of farmers prefer consulting a doctor. Conclusion: The study suggested that farmers of Burdwan were exposed to highly hazardous, restricted and banned pesticides, with insufficient protection. In this situation, educational and training interventions on pesticide handling and safety precautions are urgently needed.
Keywords: Awareness level, farmer, pesticide, study