Objectives: There are substantial health hazards to farmers and the environment associated with pesticide use in developing countries. Based on observations by the authors and previous reports, most previous studies in Africa are descriptive in nature. The aim of this study was to investigate how cotton farmers are exposed to pesticides in The Gambia and quantify their pesticide exposures and provide information for the formulation of a policy on pesticide safety for the country. Methods: A representative sample of 20 cotton farmers in the Central and Upper River Divisions (CRD and URD) of The Gambia were surveyed by questionnaires. Dermal pesticide exposures among a subset of 10 farmer/pesticide applicators were assessed by dermal patch samples, observation, and postapplication questionnaires. Results: The study revealed that a toxic organochlorine insecticide, Callisulfan (endosulfan), is frequently sprayed on cotton plants by the farmers. The farmers wore no protective equipment and were inadequately dressed for work with this pesticide. Laboratory analysis of the mixed formulation showed a wide range in the concentration of the pesticide solution among the farmer/pesticide applicators and dermal patch samples showed very high residues of endosulfan analytes on their body surfaces. Conclusions: A low level of awareness of pesticide toxicity prevails amonsg cotton farmers in The Gambia. There is a less than adequate control of pesticides and other hazardous agrichemicals in the country.
- Cotton farming
- Pesticide exposure
- The Gambia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health