Occupational pesticide exposure among Yemeni women

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Abstract

Objectives:

Limited research on the nature and extent of pesticide exposure among women in developing countries is available. The aim of this study was to describe potential pesticide exposure among women living in Yemen that occurs through agricultural work.

Methods:

In this cross-sectional study, 410 women who had a daughter enrolled in high school during 2011-2012 were surveyed regarding pesticide exposure.

Results:

Of the 410 women who responded to the survey, 171 women reported working on farms during their lifetime. Of these 171 women, 147 reported working on a farm prior to marriage and 108 reported working on a farm after marriage. Among the women who reported working on a farm before marriage, 47% had worked on farms where pesticides were used. Among those women who reported working on farms after marriage, 69% of women worked on farms where pesticides were used. Among women who reported working on a farm before marriage where pesticides were used, 45% reported not using any protective equipment. This proportion was 33% among women who worked on a farm after marriage. Among the 28 commercial pesticides that were listed within the questionnaire, the banned compound dimethoate was the most commonly reported pesticide to be used on farms.

Conclusions:

The findings suggest that improving safe pesticide management practices among farmers and enforcing effective banning of the most toxic pesticides is needed to reduce pesticide exposure among Yemeni women.

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