Why should we be worried?

These chemicals are used to control pests, but they can also affect humans who are exposed to pesticides in a number of ways:

  • Skin contact. Farmers often get pesticides on their skin when they are mixing the chemical, during spraying and when cleaning their equipment. This is called ‘dermal’ exposure, or skin exposure.
  • Breathing. Small drops of chemical easily get into the lungs of farmers when they are spraying pesticides. This is called ‘inhalation’ exposure.
  • Swallowing. This can happen as an accident, for example when pesticides are stored close to food. It can also happen deliberately, when somebody uses a pesticide to commit suicide. And of course it happens when food contains residues of pesticides that we applied by the farmers. This is called ‘oral’ exposure.
Farmer mixing chemical pesticides
Dermal exposure: The most common way for farmers to be exposed to pesticides is by skin contact.
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