Excessive use of pesticides throughout ASEAN has plagued the region with a myriad of problems including serious impacts to health and irreversible damage to the environment. People are largely unaware of the harmful effects of pesticides and the degree to which they are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis. More studies need to be done on the impacts of chemical pesticides on health in order to raise public awareness of this issues and provoke policies that will mandate the safe use of pesticides.
In response to the present lack of scientific data on the effects of pesticides on human health, The Field Alliance has recently coordinated with concerned agencies in Lao PDR, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand to conduct the regional study “Pesticide Impacts to School Children and Farmers in High Risk Areas.” This study focuses on the impacts of pesticides on farmers and school children in high-risk areas in Southeast Asia- locations where pesticides are sprayed often and in high concentrations. It is our hope that by collecting detailed data through the cholinesterase screening test and in-person interviews, we will be able to accurately trace the sources and health impacts of pesticide exposure among vulnerable populations and use this data to raise public awareness and invoke legislative changes that will better protect people against the impacts of chemical pesticides.
- To collect current data on spray behaviors, exposure sources, and health impacts of pesticide for farmers and school children in high-risk areas.
- To analyze and present this data to raise public awareness on the impacts of chemical pesticides on health.
This study is a multi-part process that began with the training of medical technicians to administer the cholinesterase screening test through finger blood test using reactive paper designed for organophosphate and cabarmate pesticide. After staff in each participating country were trained, they proceeded with the collection of blood samples from high-rish communities identifed by partners. Follow-ups with participants who were identified as ‘high risk’ included more detailed laboratory blood and urinal analyses. We are currently in the process of analyzing results of this study and following analyzation, The Field Alliance and partners will disseminate results to the general public and more specifically, present results at the 2016 Regional Chemical Management Forum hosted which will take place in Thailand.