Farmer's health externalities in pesticide use predominant regions in India.

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


World Journal of Science and Technology, Khajure Research Foundation and Development Society, Volume 1, Number 4, p.1–11 (2011)



Farmers, Health externalities., India, Pesticide poisoning


The use of pesticides in Indian agriculture, though beneficial in reducing crop loss both before and after harvest, has been associated with threats to human health often due to the misuse of these chemicals. This study was an initial attempt to explore health externalities of farmers and agricultural labourers in pesticide use predominant 28 districts in 12 Indian states. Doctors, pesticide vendors and agricultural officers of regions were interviewed to study the health externalities related to pesticide use. Data were collected through pre-tested schedules by trained field investigators. From a total sample size of 1577 and analysed. The results revealed a steady decrease in overall consumption of pesticides since 1990. About 19.4% of the respondents had experienced negative side effects on health after handling pesticides. The symptoms include headache, weakness, dizziness, fever, blurred vision, and nausea/vomiting. Most of the respondents are aware of pesticide-related symptoms and possible routes of absorption, during application of pesticides. Farmers make only short-term assessments of pesticides and spray these chemicals without taking proper protective clothing. Records on serious pesticide poisoning cases were available only in a few government hospitals, but such details were not even accessible from private hospitals as pesticide poisoning incidences are subjected to medico-legal cases. Training for agriculture and health workers in safety measures, recognition, and management of pesticide-related ill health is a matter of exigency. There is a tremendous scope for agricultural extension activity through which pesticide stewardship can be achieved in India.


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