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Perceptions of pesticides exposure risks by operators, workers, residents and bystanders in Greece, Italy and the UK

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Author: Remoundou, K. · Brennan, M. · Sacchettini, G. · Panzone, L. · Butler-Ellis, M.C. · Capri, E. · Charistou, A. · Chaideftou, E. · Gerritsen-Ebben, M.G. · Machera, K. · Spanoghe, P. · Glass, R. · Marchis, A. · Doanngoc, K. · Hart, A. · Frewer, L.J.
Type:article
Date:2015
Source:Science of the Total Environment, 505, 1082-1092
Identifier: 520240
doi: doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.10.099
Keywords: Chemistry · Agriculture · Exposure · Perception · Crops · Pesticides · Regression analysis · Risk perception · Risks · Sensory perception · Communication materials · Occupational exposure · Pesticides exposures · Protective measures · Stakeholder · Sustainable use of pesticides · Training activities · Occupational risks · Pesticide · European Union · Health risk · Knowledge · Public attitude · Risk perception · Adult · Arable land · Attitude to health · Environmental exposure · Female · Greece · Greenhouse · Health behavior · Health hazard · Health survey · Human · Italy · Male · Middle aged · Occupational safety · Operator · Orchard · Probability · Protection · Protective clothing · Protective equipment · Race difference · Regression analysis · Risk assessment · Self protection · Sex difference · United Kingdom · Worker · Work and Employment · Healthy Living · Life · RAPID - Risk Assessment Products in Development · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences

Abstract

The EU Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides (EU128/2009/EC) requires European Member States to develop training activities targeting occupational exposure to pesticides, and communication material aimed at residents and bystanders. Risk perceptions, knowledge and attitudes associated with passive and occupational exposure to pesticide potentially influence the extent to which different stakeholders adopt self-protective behaviour. A methodology for assessing the link between attitudes, adoption of self-protective behaviours and exposure was developed and tested. A survey was implemented in the Greece, Italy and the UK, and targeted stakeholders associated with pesticide exposure linked to orchards, greenhouse crops and arable crops respectively. The results indicated that the adoption of protective measures is low for residents and bystanders, with the exception of residents in Greece, when compared to operators and workers, who tend to follow recommended safety practices. A regression analysis was used to examine the factors affecting the probability of adopting protective measures as well the as the level of exposure in the case of operators and workers where data are available. The results indicate that the likelihood of engaging in self-protective behaviour is not significantly affected by perceptions of own health being affected by pesticides for residents and bystanders. However, operators who perceive that their heath has been negatively affected by the use of pesticides are found to be more likely to adopt self-protective behaviours. Gender and country differences, in perceptions, attitudes and self-protection are also observed. Recommendations for improved communication, in particular for vulnerable groups, are provided.