ORIGINAL PAPER
High prevalence of household pesticides and their unsafe use in rural South India
 
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1
ICMR School of Public Health, National Institute of Epidemiology, Ayapakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2
ICMR School of Public Health, National Institute of Epidemiology, Ayapakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, 600077
 
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2013;26(2):275–282
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ABSTRACT:
Objective: To estimate the prevalence of usage, unsafe practices and risk perception regarding household pesticides in a rural community of Tamil Nadu, India. Materials and Methods: In a cross-sectional survey we used a pre-tested questionnaire and trained interviewers to collect information on household pesticide use for the past 6 months from any adult member of randomly selected households. Results: Out of 143 households, 95% used at least one household pesticide (95% CI: 93.5-99.5) and 94% used at least one household pesticide specifically for mosquito control. The most commonly used pesticides were mosquito coils (75%), mosquito liquid vaporizers (36%), ant-killing powder (24%) and moth/naphthalene balls (18%). The major non-chemical methods of pest control were rat traps (12%) and mosquito bed nets (7.5%). Out of the mosquito coil users, 61% kept the windows and doors closed while the coil was burning. Out of the moth ball users, 88% left them in the place of use till they fully vaporized. Nearly half of the users did not know that household pesticides were harmful to their health and the health of their children. Conclusions: The use of household pesticides was highly prevalent in this rural community. The prevalence of unsafe practices while handling them was also high. We recommend that the users of household pesticides be educated about the health hazards and about safe practices and non-chemical methods of pest control be promoted.
eISSN:1896-494X
ISSN:1232-1087