A survey of pesticide use and associated incidences of poisoning in Peninsular Malaysia


Ramasamy, S.; Nursiah, M.T.A.

Journal of Plant Protection in the Tropics 5(1): 1-9

1988


A study was conducted to determine the status of pesticide use among agricultural workers and the incidence of poisoning arising from their use. The herbicide paraquat was used by 98 % of all agricultural workers interviewed while 64 % of them also used organophosphorus insecticides. Among rice farmers, 54 % of them were using organophosphorus insecticides, 45% carbamate insecticides and 68 % paraquat. In the estates and smallholdings herbicides account for 76 % of all pesticides used. The most widely used are paraquat (100%), 2,4-D amine (75 %), glyphosate (68 %) and diuron with paraquat (23 %). In oil palm holdings organophosphorus insecticides and rodenticides were used extensively. The organochlorines are more commonly used in cocoa and sugar cane plantations. Fifty four percent of all respondents claimed to have experienced pesticide poisoning. The estate workers formed the largest portion of this group followed by rice farmers and smallholders. Commonly experienced symptoms included giddiness, skin rash, nail damage and nasal bleeding. Poisoning incidences were noted to be the highest among those using paraquat and specific organophosphorus insecticides. The most common work attire were long trousers, long sleeved shirt, hat and shoes. Some of the estates were providing protective equipment like boots, gloves, face masks and plastic aprons to their workers. Other aspects like medical facilities, supervision and advice provided to agricultural workers are also reported.

J.
PI.
Prot.
Tropics
5(1):
l
—9
(1988)
A
survey
of
pesticide
use
and
associated
incidences
of
poisoning
in
Peninsular
Malaysia
S.
RAMASAMY
and
NURSIAH
MOHD
TAJOL
AROS
Crop
Protection
Branch
Department
of
Agriculture
Malaysia
Abstract:
A
study
was
conducted
to
determine
the
status
of
pesticide
use
among
agricultural
workers
and
the
incidence
of
poisoning
arising
from
their
use.
The
herbicide
paraquat
was
used
by
98
%
of
all
agricultural
workers
interviewed
while
64
%
of
them
also
used
organophosphorus
insecticides.
Among
rice
farmers,
54
%
of
them
were
using
organophosphorus
insecticides,
45%
carbarnate
insecticides
and
68
`X,
paraquat.
In
the
estates
and
smallholdings
herbicides
account
for
76
%
of
all
pesticides
used.
The
most
widely
used
are
paraquat
(100%),
2,4-D
amine
(75
%),
glyphosate
(68
°/
0
)
and
diuron
with
paraquat
(23
%).
In
oil
palm
holdings
organophosphorus
insecticides
and
rodenticides
were
used
extensively.
The
organochlorines
are
more
commonly
used
in
cocoa
and
sugar
cane
plantations.
Fifty
four
percent
of
all
respondents
claimed
to
have
experienced
pesticide
poisoning.
The
estate
workers
formed
the
largest
portion
of
this
group
followed
by
rice
farmers
and
smallholders.
Commonly
experienced
symptoms
included
giddiness,
skin
rash,
nail
damage
and
nasal
bleeding.
Poisoning
incidences
were
noted
to
be
the
highest
among
those
using
paraquat
and
specific
organophosphorus
insecticides.
The
most
common
work
attire
were
long
trousers,
long
sleeved
shirt,
hat
and
shoes.
Some
of
the
estates
were
providing
protective
equipment
like
boots,
gloves,
face
masks
and
plastic
aprons
to
their
workers.
Other
aspects
like
medical
facilities,
supervision
and
advice
provided
to
agricultural
workers
are
also
reported.
Keywords:
Pesticides,
Malaysia,
poisoning,
applications.
Author
citation:
Ramasamy,
S.
and
Nursiah,
M.T.A.
INTRODUCTION
Pesticides
continue
to
play
an
important
role
in
agricultural
production
in
Peninsular
Malaysia.
The
increasing
cost
of
labour
as
well
as
its
scarcity
is
presently
forcing
agricul-
tural
production
to
continue
relying
on
pesticides
for
pest
control
operations.
Some
vegetable
farmers
have
reported
that
frequent
and
continuous
use
of
certain
insecticides
have
made
them
less
effective
against
the
target
pests,
leading
to
the
need
for
increased
dosages
and
in
some
cases
other
more
potent
compounds
to
combat
them.
This
situation
has
also
posed
a
serious
hazard
to
the
health
of
those
handling
these
pesticides.
Recently
several
such
incidences
were
reported
prompt-
ing
the
Department
of
Agriculture
to
in-
vestigate
the
matter
further.
It
was
for
this
purpose
that
this
study
was
conducted,
besides
updating
information
on
the
current
status
of
pesticide
usage
in
the
country.
PREVIOUS
STUDIES
Several
studies
on
the
use
of
pesticides
have
been
conducted
especially
among
the
small
farmers.
Yunus
and
Lim
(1971)
studied
the
problems
of
using
insecticides
in
rice
fields.
Jegatheesan
(1975)
found
that
in
the
Muda
Scheme,
46
%
of
the
rice
farmers
used
in-
secticides
such
as
gamma
BHC
and
en-
dosulfan.
Others
like
Zam
(1980),
Ho
(1981,
1984),
Heong
(1984)
and
more
recently
Heong
et
al.
(1985)
looked
at
the
pest
control
practices
and
management
of
agrochemical
usage
among
rice
farmers
in
the
Tanjong
Karang
and
Muda
rice
areas,
including
their
perception
of
such
usage.
In
the
study
by
Heong
et
al.
(1985),
it
was
found
that
91
%
of
the
farmers
used
pesticides
only
when
there
were
pest
incidences.
With
the
increased
incidence
of
the
brown
planthopper,
Nilapar-
vata
lugens
(Stal.)
and
the
white-backed
plan-
thopper,
Sogatellafurcifera
(Horv.),
the
use
of
©Malaysian
Plant
Protection
Society
2
Ramasamy,
S.
and
Nursiah,
M.T.A.
insecticides
such
as
BPMC,
propoxur,
MTMC,
phenthoate
and
carbofuran
have
increased
significantly
in
the
Muda
area
(Ho,
1984).
Pesticide
usage
among
vegetable
growers
has
also
been
well
documented.
Ooi
and
Sudderuddin
(1978)
did
some
early
studies
on
pesticide
use
in
the
Cameron
Highlands
vegetable
area.
Ding
et
al.
(1981)
also
con-
ducted
an
agroeconomic
survey
on
vegetable
farming
in
Peninsular
Malaysia.
Similar
studies
among
the
smallholdings
and
plan-
tation
sector
are
however,
scarce.
It
must
be
noted,
however
that
the
studies
mentioned
above
dealt
in
depth
with
aspects
of
pesticide
usage.
Few
looked
into
the
incidences
of
pesticide
poisoning
arising
from
occupational
exposure.
Zain
(1979)
made
a
brief
report
on
a
pesticide
poisoning
accident
where
some
rice
farmers
in
Kedah
were
affected.
Basri
(1981)
conducted
a
study
on
the
hazards
posed
by
insecticides
such
as
methomyl
and
azinphos-ethyl,
among
to-
bacco
and
vegetable
growers.
In
both
studies,
information
on
actual
pesticide
poisoning
was
scanty.
A
few
other
isolated
reports
especially
with
paraquat
had
been
reported.
This
in-
cluded
one
by
Ng
and
Thong
(1978)
who
reported
five
fatal
cases
at
the
Seremban
General
Hospital
in
a
period
of
one
year.
Ramasamy
(1976)
reported
seven
cases
of
carbamate
poisoning
in
Kelantan
which
included
one
death.
SURVEY
METHOD
This
study
was
carried
out
in
1985
by
staff
of
the
Department
of
Agriculture
using
a
questionnaire.
Respondents
were
classified
into
four
main
categories—rice
farmers,
vegetable
growers,
smallholders
and
estate
workers.
While
recognising
that
there
were
some
major
rice
and
vegetable-growing
areas
in
the
Peninsular,
respondents
in
this
study
however,
were
selected
randomly
from
all
the
states
without
preference.
The
traditional
rubber,
oil
palm
and
cocoa/coconut
smallhol-
ders,.
tobacco
growers
and
fruit
orchard
owners
were
also
grouped
into
one
category.
Estates
were
selected
randomly
without
pre-
ference
for
size
or
crop.
In
each
estate,
about
Table
1.
Survey
respondents.
Farmers'
group
No.
of
respondents
Rice
farmers
171
Vegetable
growers
153
Smallholders
198
Estate
workers
692
Total
1214
five
to
seven
workers
were
interviewed
inde-
pendently.
A
total
of
1214
respondents
were
obtained
from
the
four
groups
in
this
study
(Table
1).
RESULTS
Pesticide
usage
Herbicides
were
most
widely
used
by
the
estates,
smallholders
and
rice
farmers.
In
the
estates
they
accounted
for
76
%
of
all
pes-
ticides
used
(Figure
1).
Of
these,
paraquat
was
used
by
all
the
estates
followed
by
2,4-D
amine
(75
0
/
0
),
glyphosate
(68
%),
diuron
with
paraquat
(23
%)
and
sodium
chlorate
(29
%)
(Table
2).
Paraquat
and
2,4-D
amine
were
also
the
main
herbicides
used
by
rice
farmers,
while
in
the
case
of
the
smallholders,
paraquat
and
glyphosate
were
the
main
choices.
Almost
all
the
vegetable
growers
(98
%)
used
paraquat
for
weed
control.
Table
2.
Percentage
of
respondents
using
various
herbicides.
Rice
Small-
Vegetable
Herbicides
Estates
farmers
holders
growers
Al
achlor
2.4
0.4
Ametryn
19.1
2,4-D amine
75.0
56.3
6.6
Dalapon
10.7
1.7
4.6
Diuron
27.4
1.0
DSMA
+diuron
+2,4-D
amine
16.7
Glyphosate
67.9
13.6
1.6
MCPA
2.3
Molinate
1.7
MSMA
9.5
Paraquat
100.0
87.4
82.4
98.0
Paraquat
+
diuron
22.6
Sodium
chlorate
28.5
estate
workers
rice
farmers
smallholders
vegetable
growers
Pesticide
use
in
Malaysia
3
100
80
-
60
-
A
:
herbicides
B
:
insecticides
C
:
fungicides
D
rodenticides
40
-
20
-
0
A
B
C
D
Figure
1.
Pesticides
used
in
estates.
organo-
phosphates
Figure
2.
Percentage
of
users
of
the
various
insecticides.
carbamates
organo-
chlorines
pyrethroids
bioagents
Insecticides
were
also
extensively
used
by
all
four
groups
of
farmers.
Among
the
rice
farmers,
organophosphates
and
carbamates
were
used
most
widely
(Figure
2).
The
vegetable
growers,
however
preferred
the
organophosphates
(64%)
more
than
the
others.
In
both
these
groups
some
highly
potent
compounds
such
as
methamidophos,
monocrotophos,
azinphos-ethyl
and
parathion-methyl
were
used
(Figure
3).
A
few
rice
farmers
were
using
the
toxic
carbamate,
methomyl.
In
the
estates,
insecticide
usage
was
more
evident
in
the
oil
palm,
cocoa,
fruit
and
sugar
cane
plantations.
Here
again,
organophosphates
such
as
methamidophos
and
monocrotophos
were
the
main
choices.
The
organochlorines,
e.g.
gamma
BHC
and
dieldrin
were
confined
more
to
the
cocoa
and
sugar
cane
plantations.
Fungicides
appeared
to
be
used
only
mod-
erately
by
the
estates
and
a
little
more
intensively
by
some
vegetable
growers,
parti-
cularly
those
in
the
highlands.
Mancozeb,
benomyl
and
chlorothalonil
were
the
main
choices.
100
80
60
40
20
0
Ike
4
+ 4
4
-•
+
4
4
4
4
4
4.
;Li
I
32
2
(4.9)
(1.2)
38
20
(5.8)
(12.0)
6
30
(3.2)
(19.2)
40
81
(51.9)
24
7
(12.7)
(4.5)
32
19
(4.9)
(11.4)
(21.2)
4
Ramasamy,
S.
and
Nursiah,
M.T.A.
me
thamidophos
malathion
acephate
dimethoate
monocrotophos
diazinon
az
inphos—ethyl
parathion—methyl
phenthoate
chlorpyrif
os
others
Figure
3.
Organophosphorus
insecticides
used
by
vegetable
growers.
4 4
.
4
4
4 4 4
0
Warfarin
and
brodifacoum
were
the
com-
mon
rodenticides
used
in
the
rice
fields
and
estates.
Another
anticoagulant,
broma-
diolone,
was
also
used
in
some
estates.
Sporadic
use
of
zinc
phosphide
in
certain
rice
areas
have
also
been
reported.
Frequency
of
usage
Pesticides
were
used
most
frequently
in
the
estates.
About
58
%
of
estate
workers
re-
ported
that
they
handled
pesticides
daily
(Table
3).
Among
those
who
replied
"it
depends",
which
meant
that
they
applied
pesticides
when
directed
by
their
employers,
e.g.
during
the
dry
season,
or
in
the
case
of
oil
palm
and
cocoa
estates,
when
there
were
pest
outbreaks.
When
this
happens
they
were
inevitably
engaged
in
using
pesticides
daily
for
that
period
until
the
task
was
completed.
Vegetable
growers
were
the
other
high-
frequency
users
of
pesticides,
particularly
those
in
Cameron
Highlands.
Here,
pesticides
were
used
at
two
to
three-day
intervals
while
growers
in
the
lowlands
used
pesticides
weekly
(52
%).
Rice
farmers
were
rather
unpredictable
in
their
use
of
pesticides.
Most
(68
%)
of
them
stated
that
they
used
pesticides
when
there
was
a
pest
attack.
The
frequent
occurrence
of
such
attacks
in
the
last
few
years
by
pests
such
as
N.
lugens
and
tungro
disease
transmitted
by
the
vector,
Nephotettix
spp.
had
forced
some
rice
farmers
to
apply
insecticides
fortnightly
(12
%
of
farmers)
and
even
weekly
(11
%).
Half
of
the
smallholders
used
pesticides,
particularly
herbicides,
only
once
in
three
to
four
months.
The
more
frequent
users
were
the
tobacco
growers
and
fruit
orchard
owners.
Table
3.
Frequency
of
pesticide
usage.
Frequency
Estate
Rice
Small-
Vegetable
workers
farmers
holders
growers
380
2
(58.1)
(1.3)
Once
a
16
13
25
6
month
(2.5)
(7.8)
(13.2)
(3.9)
"It
depends"
156
113
94
32
(23.8) (67.6)
(49.7)
(20.5)
Figure
in
parenthesis
denotes
percentage.
Daily
Once
every
2-3
days
Once
a
week
Once
in
2
weeks
Pesticide
use
in
Malaysia
5
Table
4.
Protective
clothings
used
when
applying
pesticides--Number
reporting.
Clothing
items
Estate
workers
Rice
farmers
Small-
holders
Vegetable
growers
Total
LT,
LSS,
H
25
49
26
10
110
LT,
LSS,
H,
S
38
21
84
25
168
LT,
LSS,
S
14
1
3
19
LT,
LSS,
H,
S,
R
27
8
16
12
63
LT,
LSS,
H,
R
12
33
9
1
55
(
LT:
long
trousers;
LSS:
long-sleeved
shirt;
FL
hat;
S:
shoes;
R:
respirator.
Application
equipment
Non-motorised
hydraulic
or
'knapsack'
s
prayers
were
the
standard
application
equip-
ment
used
by
almost
all
the
vegetable
growers
and
rice
farmers.
Mistblowers
were
used
by
some
rice
farmers
and
smallholders.
The
estates
used
large
tractor-mounted
sprayers
for
pesticide
application.
Some
estates,
especially
those
in
Johore
and
Selangor,
used
spinning
disc
equipment
for
application
of
herbicides
like
paraquat
and
glyphosate.
Protective
clothing
Pesticide
users
in
this
survey
were
found
to
use
a
combination
of
clothing
such
as
long
or
short-sleeved
shirts,
trousers,
'sarong',
shoes,
slippers,
hat,
gloves
and
others.
The
three
most
common
combinations
as
shown
in
Table
4
were:
1.
long
trousers,
long-sleeved
shirt,
hat
and
shoes
2.
long
trousers,
long-sleeved
shirt
and
hat
3.
long
trousers,
long-sleeved
shirt,
hat,
shoes
and
a
'respirator'.
Among
the
81
who
said
that
they
used
`respirators',
it
was
found
that
this
was
just
a
piece
of
cloth
or
towel
wrapped
to
cover
the
lower
part
of
the
face.
Five
more,
however,
specified
that
they
used
a
'super
filter'
while
one
used
a
filter-fitted
mask.
All
these
n
pondents
were
vegetable
growers.
Some
respondents
were
found
to
be
applying
pesticides
barefooted.
In
the
estates,
many
workers
were
found
to
some
of
the
protective
dothings
which
were
usually
provided
by
the
management.
The
most
common
attire
consisted
of
long
trousers,
long-sleeved
shirt,
hat
and
shoes
(37
/
0
).
Thirty-eight
percent
also
used
a
respirator.
Sixty
seven
estates
did
not
provide
any
protective
clothing
for
their
workers.
Others
provided
a
combination
of
these
attire
as
listed
in
Table
5.
One
estate
in
Perlis
claimed
it
provided
all
the
protective
equipment
as
listed
in
the
survey
form.
Sometimes,
the
managers
stated
that
they
had
provided
items
such
as
respirators,
goggles,
gloves
and
even
plastic
aprons,
but
the
workers
replied
otherwise.
In
other
instances
it
appeared
that
such
equip-
ment
provided
were
not
used
by
the
workers.
Most
of
these
protective
equipment
have
been
provided
only
one
to
two
years
ago.
Table
5.
Protective
equipment
provided
by
estates.
Item
No.
of
estates
Boots
29
Goggles
27
Gloves
17
Hat
13
Long-sleeved
shirt
8
`Respirators'
6
Face
masks
6
Plastic
apron
6
Long
trousers
2
Short-sleeved
shirt
`Uniform'
(not
explained)
Poisoning
due
to
pesticides
Fifty
four
percent
of
those
interviewed
reported
experiencing
poisoning
symptoms
(Table
6).
The
highest
incidence
was
among
6
Ramasarny,
S.
and
Nursiah,
M.T.A.
Table
6.
Poisoning
incidences.
Farmers'
group
Response
With
symptoms
Total
interviewed
Estate
workers
448
692
64.7
Rice
farmers
89
171
52.0
Smallholders
71
198
35.8
Vegetable
growers
43
153
28.1
Total
651
1214
53.6
the
estate
workers
(65
%)
followed
by
rice
farmers
(52
%),
smallholders
(36
%)
and
the
vegetable
growers.
Most
(75
%)
of
those
who
reported
experiencing
these
symptoms
clai-
med
that
this
happened
after
handling
pesticides.
Giddiness
was
the
most
commonly
reported
symptom
followed
by
skin
rash,
nail
damage
and
nasal
bleeding
(Table
7).
Other
symptoms
reported
included
headache,
laboured
brea-
thing,
itchiness
of
skin,
salivation
and
chest/lung
pain.
There
was
one
case
each
of
blurred
vision,
drowsiness
and
fainting.
Three
cases
of
hospitalization
due
to
pesticides
were
reported.
Two
were
from
the
estates
and
the
other
a
vegetable
grower
using
methomyl.
Many
who
reported
experiencing
poisoning
symptoms
gave
reasons
for
what
they
felt
was
the
cause.
These
included
using
organophos-
phorus
pesticides
which
made
them
giddy
and
nauseous
and
paraquat
which
caused
eye
irritation,
nail
damage
and
nasal
bleeding.
Some
claimed
that
they
experienced
skin
rashes
from
using
insecticides,
or
when
the
pesticides
used
splashed
or
accidentally
con-
tacted
their
skin,
e.g.
from
leaky
sprayers.
Other
responses
included
sweating
and
feeling
chilly
after
spraying
methomyl;
having
nausea,
stomach
ache
and
throat
pain
when
not
washing
hands
before
meals
and
nails
hurting
when
mixing
pesticides.
Specific
brands
of
mixtures
of
2,4-D
and
2,4,5-T
were
reported
by
several
respondents
as
the
cause
of
their
poisoning
problems.
Other
brands
quoted
contained
BPMC,
methamidophos,
dalapon,
monocrotophos
and
phenthoate.
Nine
rice
farmers
in
Kelantan
using
organ
ophosphorus
compounds
reported
giddiness,
headache,
vomiting
and
chest
pain.
Two
of
them
stated
specifically
that
these
happened
when
they
used
methomyl.
Action
taken
on
poisoning
Most
of
the
respondents
in
this
study
took
no
action
at
all
to
remedy
the
poisoning
symptoms
they
experienced.
Seventy
five
Table
7.
Poisoning
symptoms
reported
by
farmers.
Symptoms
Estate
workers
Rice
farmers
Small-
holders
Vegetable
growers
Total
Giddiness
208
58
49
26
441
Skin
rash
204
28
19
7
358
Nail
damage
184
27
211
Nasal
bleeding
82
12
94
Headache
57
18
12
4
91
Laboured
breathing
53
12
8
6
79
Eye
rash
28
23
7
5
63
Skin
itch
48
5
6
3
62
Nausea
37
6
9
5
57
Vomiting
26
11
11
6
54
Stomach
pain
33
2
0
4
39
Diarrhoea
24
0
0
1
25
Chest/lung
pain
7
2
1
11
Other
symptoms
include:
throat
pain
(15
respondents),
skin
peel(15),
salivation(14),
dryness
of
throat(7),
weakness(2),
blurred
vision,
drowsiness
and
fainting
(1
each).
Pesticide
use
in
Malaysia
7
,pondents
from
the
estates
sought
proper
medical
treatment
from
their
respective
estate
clinics.
Among
the
others,
the
usual
recourse
was
drinking
coconut
water
and
traditional
treatments
with
herbs
and
tamarind.
Medical
examination
of
pesticide
workers
Sixty
nine
of
the
estates
interviewed
have
clinics
or
dispensaries
which
are
open
daily.
One
estate
has
a
24-hour
emergency
service.
Most
of
these
estate
clinics/dispensaries
are
run
by
hospital
assistants
with
visiting
medi-
cal
officers
coming
once
a
month.
One
hundred
and
five
estates
surveyed
claimed
that
their
workers
were
given
medical
exam-
ination.
No
further
explanation
was
given
except
for
two
estates
which
stated
that
these
were
done
monthly.
The
others
said
that
proper
medical
examination
was
not
done
in
their
estate
clinics.
Workers
were
usually
referred
to
nearby
government
clinics.
Supervision
while
handling
pesticides
Essentially,
advice
and
supervision
as
mentioned
in
this
survey
referred
not
only
to
aspects
of
dosage
and
efficacy
but
also
the
hazards
of
the
pesticide,
and
their
safe-
handling.
A
breakdown
of
the
main
advisory
channels
quoted
by
the
pesticide
users
is
given
in
Tables
8
and
9.
Table
8.
Government
agencies
from
which
pesticide
spraying
advice
were
obtained.
Agency*
Estate
workers
Rice
farmers
Small-
holders
Vegetable
growers
Total
Dept.
of
Agriculture
88
65
55
200
RISDA
1
17
20
FOA
(LPP)
8
10
2
20
MARDI
2
5
8
15
FELDA
10
5
15
National
Tobacco
Board
1
12
13
KADA
5
6
MADA
9
1
10
FELCRA
7
1
8
Farmers'
Cooperatives
1
2
*RISDA
—Rubber
Industry
Smallholders
Development
Authority
MARDI
—Malaysian
Agricultural
Research
and
Development
Institute
FELDA
—Federal
Land
Development
Authority
KADA
—Kemubu
Agricultural
Development
Authority
MADA
—Muda
Agricultural
Development
Authority
FELCRA
—Federal
Land
Consolidation
and
Rehabilitation
Authority
FOA(LPP)—Farmers'
Organization
Authority.
Table
9.
Non-Government
groups
from
which
pesticide
advice
were
obtained.
Advice
obtained
from
Estate
workers
Rice
farmers
Small-
holders
Vegetable
growers
Total
Tobacco
companies
4
4
Tobacco
curers
14
14
Salesmen/dealers
2
8
11
Shopkeepers
3
4
7
Friends
1
4
6
11
"Yes,
advice
given"*
2
4
6
Did
not
obtain
advice
53
10
52
35
150
*Not
explained
further.
8
Ramasamy,
S.
and
Nursiah,
M.T.A.
Table
10.
Knowledge
of
hazards
posed
by
pesticides.
Response
Estate
workers
Rice
farmers
Small-
holders
Vegetable
growers
Total
Understand/aware
of
colour
codes
and
classes
184
46
38
26
294(24.2)*
Not
aware
of
classes/
do
not
understand
102
26
45
65
238(19.6)
Only
know
by
skull
on
label
28
16
15
4
63(5.2)
Told
by
government
staff
28
16
15
4
63(5.2)
Know
only
the
basics/all
pesticides
are
dangerous
28
7
4
7
50(4.1)
Not
informed
by
anybody
117
34
65
40
256(21.1)
*Figure
in
parenthesis
denotes
percentage
of
all
respondents
Note:
Other
answers
include
learning
from
experience
(50
respondents),
seminars/courses
(8)
and
shopkeepers/salesmen
(18)
and
knowing
only
by
smell
(22).
It
appears
from
this
survey
that
pesticide
users
in
the
non-estate
sector
worked
inde-
pendently
and
did
not
want
any
supervision.
A
few,
however,
replied
that
they
were
given
advice
by
the
Department
of
Agriculture.
Pesticide
users
interviewed
in
this
survey
were
also
asked
on
their
knowledge
of
hazards
posed
by
pesticides
from
looking
at
the
label
(Table
10).
Only
24
%
of
all
respondents
were
aware
of
the
colour
codes
and
the
toxicity
classes
as
indicated
on
pesticide
labels
while
21
%
said
they
were
unaware
of
this.
In
the
estates,
many
workers
stated
that
they
were
not
informed
of
the
hazards
of
pesticides
they
were
handling.
There
were
a
few
cases
where
the
management
said
they
have
explained
such
hazards
to
their
workers
but
these
workers
denied
it
was
done.
The
management
of
one
estate,
though,
claimed
that
they
did
not
understand
the
significance
of
the
label
at
all.
In
another
case,
an
estate
worker
said
that
he
still
did
not
understand
the
label
hazard
identification
even
after
it
was
explained
to
him.
Eighty
one
respondents
said
they
could
not
read
while
another
21
did
not
care
to
read
the
label.
DISCUSSION
This
survey
indicates
that
there
is
signi-
ficant
relationship
(r
=
0.87)
between
pes-
ticide
use
and
incidences
of
poisoning.
Giddi-
ness
and
skin
rash,
the
common
symptoms
noted
are
most
prevalent
amongst
those
using
potent
insecticides
like
methamidophos,
mo-
nocrotophos,
azinphos-ethyl,
parathion-
methyl
and
methomyl.
Nail
damage
and
nasal
bleeding
are
common
symptoms
of
paraquat
poisoning.
This
is
seen
among
the
estate
workers
who
are
regular
users
of
this
her-
bicide.
The
266
(38
%)
and
39
(20
%)
cases
of
nail
damage
and
nasal
bleeding
among
the
estate
workers
and
smallholders
resemble
paraquat
poisoning.
The
figures
for
the
estate
workers
may
be
conservative
as
there
were
several
instances
where
the
respondents
appeared
reluctant
to
cooperate
for
fear
of
reprisal
by
their
management.
Pesticide
misuse
could
also
have
contri-
buted
to
poisoning
incidences.
Paraquat,
although
recommended
to
be
used
at
dilutions
of
1:80-160
with
non-motorised
hydraulic
spray
equipment
were,
however,
found
to
be
used
at
concentrations
as
high
as
1:25
with
spinning
disc
spray
applicators.
In
other
instances
pesticides
were
used
for
purposes
not
recommended
by
the
manufacturers.
For
example,
monocrotophos,
although
recom-
mended
only
for
trunk
injection
treatment
on
oil
palm
and
coconut,
was
used
as
spray
treatment
on
rice
and
vegetables.
The
use
of
protective
clothing
was
lacking
in
most
farmers
groups,
particularly
the
smallholders
and
rice
farmers.
This
could
also
have
significant
effects
on
poisoning
in-
cidences.
Recently
some
of
the
estates
have
provided
these
equipment
to
their
employees.
Some
estate
workers
are,
however
reluctant
to
use
them.