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Although protective clothing and equipment are designed to provide protection to pesticide users, they are often not used by small farmers in developing countries such as Ecuador, South America. Protection is not used because of its high cost, inappropriateness, and the lack of availability to users who could be at great personal risk when using pesticides. Other important obstacles to their use are inaccurate “folk beliefs” about pesticides and pest management. These beliefs, although consistent with the Ecuadorean farmers' and nonfarmers' views that pesticide materials are not hazardous and that only weak individuals are at risk, are at odds with what is known about pesticides and the potential risks from misuse. Greater efforts must be made to understand pesticide users' beliefs and behaviors if pesticide safety education programs are to be effective and if users are going to be educated to use protective clothing and equipment.
accidents, protection, protective clothing, pesticides, hazardous materials, pest control, spraying, behavioral science, education, human behavior, attitudes, opinions, culture
Lecturer and specialist, Cooperative Extension, University of California, Davis, CA