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Pesticide safety among farmworkers: perceived risk and perceived control as factors reflecting environmental justice.

By Thomas A Arcury, Sara A Quandt and Gregory B Russell


Farmworkers in the United States constitute a population at risk for serious environmental and occupational illness and injury as well as health disparities typically associated with poverty. Pesticides are a major source of occupational injury and illness to which farmworkers are exposed. Efforts to provide safety training for farmworkers have not been fully evaluated. Based on the Health Belief Model, this analysis examines how safety information affects perceived pesticide safety risk and control among farmworkers and how perceived risk and control affect farmworker knowledge and safety behavior. Data are based on interviews conducted in 1999 with 293 farmworkers in eastern North Carolina as part of the Preventing Agricultural Chemical Exposure in North Carolina Farmworkers' Project. Perceived pesticide risk and perceived pesticide control scales were developed from interview items. Analysis of the items and scales showed that farmworkers had fairly high levels of perceived risk from pesticides and perceived control of pesticide safety. Receiving information about pesticide safety (e.g., warning signs) reduced perceived risk and increased perceived control. Pesticide exposure knowledge was strongly related to perceived risk. However, perceived risk had a limited relationship to safety knowledge and was not related to safety behavior. Perceived control was not related to pesticide exposure knowledge, but was strongly related to safety knowledge and safety behavior. A key tenet of environmental justice is that communities must have control over their environment. These results argue that for pesticide safety education to be effective, it must address issues of farmworker control in implementing workplace pesticide safety

Topics: Research Article
Year: 2002
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central

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