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Conceptualizing a new method to evaluate banana farmworkers pesticides exposure

Di Cesare S., Macombe C., Grimbuhler S., Feschet P., Petti L., Mathé S., Loeillet D.. 2016. Montpellier : ProMusa, 8 p.. International Symposium on Banana: ISHS-ProMusa Symposium on Agroecological Approaches to Promote Innovative Banana Production Systems. 10, 2016-10-10/2016-10-14, Montpellier (France).

The use of pesticides has been considered as susceptible to have health effects due to the misapplication of chemicals. This work aims to present a method to compare the pesticides exposure of banana farmworkers regarding different cropping systems. This new method allows taking into account ¿real practices¿, and in particular "bad practices" that result in exposures for farmworkers while in theory they are expected to wear the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Farmworkers may be exposed to pesticides either directly or indirectly. When conceiving new crops systems, in the perspective of agro ecology, correctly assessing the magnitude of the health risk from pesticide exposure in the workplace is mandatory. The proposed approach took into account: the properties of the different product families; the number of persons involved and their partition in three populations (pesticides applicators, farmworkers present in the plantation during and/or after the pesticides application); the number of treatments required by the specific banana pathosystem. Firstly knowledge about the different phases of a banana cropping system was collected consulting experts. Secondly, with the information collected, nine decision trees were created. These trees allow us to make comparisons between different farming systems on each (or the totality) of the nine decision trees devised. Each tree describes the different ways to carry out an activity, through the preparation of the pesticide mixture, the different application ways and the actors involved. With these elements equations were de-vised. Different equation constructions were implemented to discriminate between different work management observable in various sized plantations. The purpose is to develop a decision support tool to re-conceive cropping systems, starting from the criterion of minimizing (as far as possible) the risk of pesticides exposure for farm-workers and without compromising the other performances. Finally it could be used in discussions about pesticides exposure.

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