Knowledge, attitude, practice, and toxicity symptoms associated with pesticide use among farm workers in the Gaza Strip
- 1Faculty of Science, The Islamic University of Gaza, Palestine
- 2Environmental Protection and Research Institute-Gaza, Palestine
- 3Faculty of Agriculture, Al-Azhar University, Gaza, Palestine
- Correspondence to: Prof J M Safi, Environmental Protection and Research Institute, EPRI-Gaza, Palestine, PO Box 1175, Gaza, Palestinian National Authority;
- Accepted 12 February 2002
Aims: To assess knowledge, attitude, practice, and toxicity symptoms associated with pesticide use and exposure among 189 farm workers in the Gaza Strip.
Methods: A cross section of agricultural farm workers in the Gaza Strip were asked to fill in a questionnaire on knowledge, attitudes, practice towards pesticide use, and associated toxicity symptoms.
Results: Farm workers reported high levels of knowledge on the health impact of pesticides (97.9%). Moderate to high levels of knowledge were recorded on toxicity symptoms related to pesticides. Most farm workers were aware of the protective measures to be used during applying pesticides. However, no one took precautions unless they knew about the measures. Burning sensation in eyes/face was the commonest symptom (64.3%). The prevalence of self reported toxicity symptoms was dependent on mixing and use of high concentrations of pesticides. The highest percentage of self reported toxicity symptoms was found among the farm workers who returned to sprayed fields within one hour of applying pesticides.
Conclusions: Farm workers in the Gaza Strip used pesticides extensively. Despite their knowledge about the adverse health impact of the pesticides, the use of protective measures was poor. Most had self reported toxicity symptoms, particularly the younger workers. It would be useful to minimise the use of pesticides and encourage alternative measures. Prevention and intervention programmes regarding the use of protective measures and monitoring the health status of farm workers should be implemented.