Social Characteristics Associated with Agrochemical Use and Health Risks among Grenadian Farmers
Background: According to the World Health Organization, agrochemical use is globally widespread although hazardous to human health. Few studies were conducted in the Caribbean to assess health problems from exposure to agrochemicals. Studies were not conducted previously in the Grenada to investigate factors that may influence the level of use of agrochemicals. In the United States, farmers experienced health problems that were found to be associated with exposure to specific agrochemicals.
Methods: Algorithms from the Agriculture Health Study in the United States were adopted to conduct a correlational cross sectional study in Grenada to investigate the relationships between the characteristics of 8868 farmers in the 2012 agriculture census in Grenada and frequency of use of agrochemicals.
Results: Statistically significant relationships were found between gender, age, education, membership in a farm organization and having ever used agrochemicals. There was also a statistically significant greater odds (OR 1.945, 95 CI: 1.028- 3.679, p=0.041) of having ever used agrochemicals by farmers who completed school at the vocational level compared to farmers who completed school at the primary level. A significant relationship was also found between membership in a farm organization and used herbicide ≥ 12 times in the year with odds ratio >2 for farmers who did not have membership in the organizations.
Conclusion: The results indicate farmers who completed education at vocational school were more likely to experience health problems such as, allergic and non-allergic wheeze, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and decreased DNA methylation associated with the use of agrochemicals. Farmers who did not have membership in farm organizations were more likely to experience Parkinson’s disease and end-stage renal disease. There is need to regulate and monitor the use of agrochemicals by Grenadian farmers as a public health measure.
Lindonne Glasgow*, David Anderson and German Gonzalez