In Agriculture practices, farmers work with many hazardous input and equipment but they don’t know how to safely operation of Agriculture. In Bangladesh, farmers most of them have no any knowledge or not achieve any training about PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and how to protect themselves from health hazards substance as like farm dust, grain dust, pollen grain, mold spores, fungal hypha, vapours, fumes, pet dander, and most dangerous chemical hazard such as plant growth regulator (PGR), silo pit, manure pit, chemical fertilizer and pesticide which is also produce in agricultural operation.

According to P. Hansen and T. Walker of Colorado State University, “Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes clothing and devices that protect the body from contact with chemicals such as pesticides.” A wide range of pesticides, methods or rates of their application, active ingredients and toxicities- PPE’s also varied its shape, size and their comfortable uses as for example long sleeved shirt, pant and gloves protect dermal exposure to upper body, legs, arms and hands with fingers, masks or respirators protect nose, throat, lungs and the respiratory system, goggles and glass shield protect eyes; hat, face shield protect head and neck and apron, gum boots also a good PPE for protect neck to foot. So, it is very much important to wear the right PPE to the right agricultural operation such as pesticides application, fumigation in storage, work with green or dry tobacco leaves, harvesting threshing winnowing and grading of crops etc. Above of them pesticides application is so much hazardous work which can enter the farmers body by three ways such as Dermal or Ocular – when contact to any point of skin or eyes, pesticides absorbed by this way, Oral or ingestion – when contact to lips or inhale by open mouth, it directly enter to stomach or lungs and last one is an Inhalation or respiratory – when breathing by nose and throat, it full into the lungs. After enter this toxic substance in the local part or whole of the body, it also travel in the bloodstream to important internal organs and most commonly affected to the liver, kidneys, heart, nervous system (including the brain) and reproductive system. A July 2007 study conducted by researchers at the Public Health Institute, the California Department of Health Services, and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health found ‘a sixfold increase in risk factor for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for children of women who were exposed to organochlorine pesticides’. Now a days, this organochlorine pesticides apply in the agriculture practices as a wide range without thinking a harmful effects of our health, environment, ecosystem and our future offspring.

Agricultural farm dust and grain dust is another airborne pathogen which carry many harmful particles and causes serious lung diseases such as occupational asthma, emphysema, edema, pulmonary edema, farmers’ lung (farmers’ hypersensitivity pneumonities – FHP), chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), fatigue or shortness of breathe, coughing or wheezing and other irreversible or incurable ailments. According to Charles V. Schwab ; Denis Zeimet and Laura Miller, the scholastics of Iowa State University say their article with reference of The National Safety Council reports, “300 workers on large farms incapacitated due to respiratory conditions in 1990, about one-third caused by dust.” Pollen grain and mold spores are critical airborne pathogen which much added particle matter in the inhale air. According to Wendy McDougal, ‘Pollination sends millions of tiny pollen grains through the air, many of which end up in our nose and causes sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy throat, cough, sore throat, hoarse voice etc.’ Our silent health hazard caused by this particle matter solved by taking dust mask as a simple PPE. Our mask foundation slogan is ‘take mask, save lung’ where awareness to the farmer about mask and how can they use it.

Different pesticides require different PPE depending on active materials, their toxicity and type of potential exposure. So, reading a pesticide label is very much important to understand the exposure risks and there are one of three signal words : Caution indicates slightly toxic or eco-friendly, Warning means moderately toxic and Danger is highly toxic. This three signal are signed by Green, Yellow and Red colour. The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) and Syngenta Canada Inc. have partnered to develop free educational tools to help educate producers, farm workers, and the general public about the importance of safe pesticide handling through the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Many pesticides are handled as powder that can form airborne dust and some formulations contain volatile which evaporate in the air and we inhaled it. Marcel Hacault is the Executive Director of CASA says, ‘It is vitally important that producers take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their workers from inadvertent pesticide exposure’.

In our country, syngenta take action to farmers health hazard with PPE awareness through their product stewardship but it is so much little bit. Other pesticide companies, there are no any action plan about PPE except product label work. If all pesticide company will be provided PPE to the farmer free of charge with their products, it is meaningful health care to the farmer and magically decreases health hazard in agriculture operation. We can start ‘farmers health insurance’ which Philippine started 1969 and from 1995 to still now ‘Philihealth’ is well known health insurance who injured in agriculture practices and other acute or chronic disease. So, in our country aspect, it’s argent demand of PPE in agriculture, otherwise our health hazard will be silently harmed long to longer.

Kbd. Md. Hamidul Islam
Asst. Leaf Officer, Akij Group.

Kbd. Pronob Kumar Roy
Agronomy & Leaf Processing Officer (ALPO), Akij Group.


Dated : 22-06-2016

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