SUMMARY

Abstract

To compete with the income gained from opium cultivation, cut flower growing has been introduced in the highlands of northem Thailand. High-value produce whose the physical appearance is essential to secure high market priees, eut flowers require intensive pesticide use. Farmer's practices in cut flower production raise, however, various problems related to pesticide ove ruse and misuse, leading to potential health hazards. To gain c1ear understanding of pesticide use practices and identify the main factors contributing to pesticide exposure, this survey was conducted on 50 eut flower growers. A serni-structured personnal questionnaire was designed to collect information on pesticide characteristics, their conditions' of storage, dosage and application as weil as the safety precautions taken by farmers during mixing and spraying pesticides. Relating the results ofthis survey, 28 % of farmers store pesticides at home, in the living room; 32 % apply dosages higher than recommended on the label while 36 % overdose or underdose the spray solution according to pest infestation level. Mostly ail farmers apply pesticide cocktails without knowledge about chemical compatibility. During mixing, 94 % of farmers wear boots, 80 % wear gloves, 42 % wear special work clothing and only 18 % of farmers wear face mask and 6% face shield. Farmer's wives and con tract workers involved in pesticide application face higher pesticide exposure as they do not take safety precautions when spraying. After spraying, 98 % of farmers wash themselves, 84 % wash their work clothing and only 26 % dispose of empty containers. This survey achieved in assessing the main risk factors of pesticide contamination and implementing appropriate safe use trainings in the context of farmer's perceptions and knowledge

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