Risk Perception and Behavior in Egyptian Adolescent Pesticide Applicators: An Intervention Study
Adolescents are engaged in agricultural work, including pesticide application, around the world. Adolescent pesticide applicators are more likely to be exposed to pesticides than their adult counterparts because of their application practice and hygiene habits surrounding pesticide use. There is a need for low-cost interventions to reduce pesticide exposure. We evaluated a theoreticallybased educational intervention to change perceptions about the risk of pesticide use and hygiene habits during
... giene habits during and after pesticide application for adolescent and young adult pesticide applicators in Egypt. Methods: Young adult and adolescent pesticide applicators were given an educational intervention to inform them on the risk of pesticide use and how to reduce pesticide exposure. Changes in perceived susceptibility and effectiveness were measured with a survey pre and post intervention. The same survey was given 8-month post intervention to identify sustained effects. Observational checklists of pesticide application practice were also completed during application seasons before and after the intervention. Results: There was an increase in the proportion of individuals who viewed pesticides as being a long-term health risk (74.7% pre-intervention to 97.9% post-intervention, McNemar test p<0.001). This change remained significant when surveyed at the 8-month follow-up (90.5%, p<0.001). There was also a sustained improvement in regards to participant's view of proper hygiene practice surrounding pesticide application. Applicators where observed wearing googles, shoes, and mask more frequently post intervention. Conclusion: This theoretically-based intervention is an example of a low-cost solution that can improve adolescent and young adult's practices regarding pesticide application and personal hygiene practice during and after pesticide application. The intervention can be applied in other countries with similar safety culture surrounding pesticide application.