Reducing pesticide exposure and associated neurotoxic burden in an Ecuadorian small farm population

D.C. Cole, S.G. Sherwood, M.C. Paredes Chauca, L.H. Sanin, C. Crissman, P. Espinosa, F. Munoz

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    24 Citations (Scopus)


    The contribution of community-based interventions, including farmer field schools (FFSs) in integrated pest management (IPM), to reducing pesticide exposures and associated neurotoxic burden among small-farm families in Ecuador was assessed in three Andean farming communities in a co-design of targeted action-research. Baseline questionnaire surveys elicited pesticide-related knowledge, practices, and exposure and neurobehavioral assessments were done using an adapted WHO battery. Pesticide applications on plots farmed by FFS versus non-FFS participants were compared. A year later, repeated surveys of participating households (n = 29) and neurobehavioral testing of individuals (n = 63) permitted comparisons of pre- and post-intervention values. The FFS graduates applied pesticides on their plots less frequently (p = 0.171). FFS households had increased pesticide-related knowledge of labels and exposure risk factors (both p <0.004), better pesticide-handling practices (p <0.01), and less skin exposure (p <0.01). Neurobehavioural status had improved, particularly digit span and visuo-spatial function, resulting in overall z-score increases. Thus, community interventions reduced pesticide use, reported skin exposure, and neurotoxic burden among smallholder farm families
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)281-289
    JournalInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • integrated pest-management
    • potato production
    • health
    • risk
    • performance
    • outcomes
    • impacts
    • state


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