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Health Effects of Pesticide Use Evidence from Bangladesh Susmita Dasgupta Craig Meisner DECRG-IE, The World Bank.

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Presentation on theme: "Health Effects of Pesticide Use Evidence from Bangladesh Susmita Dasgupta Craig Meisner DECRG-IE, The World Bank."— Presentation transcript:

1 Health Effects of Pesticide Use Evidence from Bangladesh Susmita Dasgupta Craig Meisner DECRG-IE, The World Bank

2 Pesticide consumption (metric tons) Source: Department of Plant Protection Wing, Bangladesh Pesticide consumption has more than doubled in the past decade

3 Alarming Composition of Pesticides A Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) analysis of active ingredients in use has revealed: high shares of chemicals (e.g., carbamates and organophosphates) with established Epidemiological links with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, lung cancer, aplastic anemia, fetal death, hormonal changes, DNA damage, birth defects, and abnormal sperm, ovaries and eggs.

4 Active Ingredients Used (sold) in the Agricultural Sector, Bangladesh

5 Need for Careful Assessment and Planning  Current projections suggest that the agricultural output of Bangladesh needs to grow several times during the next several decades, as the population of Bangladesh continues to grow and incomes increase.  Bangladesh, a densely populated country (997 people km 2 in 2000), will have to increase yields from the land currently under cultivation in order to serve this increased demand.  During the past several decades, rising agricultural productivity has been driven by an increased utilization of capital and chemicals (pesticides, fertilizers) and genetic alteration of crops.  The cited increase in the use of toxic chemicals warrant careful assessment of the current situation and experimentation with feasible alternative production systems, for example, Integrated Pest Management/ and organic farming techniques.

6 Limited Secondary Data on Pesticides The Department of Plant Protection, Ministry of Agriculture maintains 1.Time series of yearly consumption of pesticides. 2. A list is complied every year to indicate which pesticides (by active ingredient and company) have been given permission to be sold in the market. However, the popular belief is as large scale smuggling of pesticide from neighboring countries takes place, both the yearly consumption and list of permitted pesticides actually understate the amount of pesticides being consumed as well as the variety of pesticides available in the market.

7 Current Information on Health Effects  Historical information on the health effects of pesticide use in Bangladesh is not available. Although the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) maintains aggregate data on poisoning related morbidity or death up to , information by source of poisoning (i.e. morbidity and mortality related to pesticides) is not available.  A newly improved system of health-related information is being introduced by the DGHS. The new system (information is compiled on the basis of source of poisoning, e.g., poisoning with organophosphates treated as a separate and distinct entry) initially covered only two districts beginning in : Gazipur and Narsingdi. The new system is expected to gradually extend its coverage to other districts as well over time.

8 World Bank Research on Pesticides

9 Pesticide Applications Reported by Survey Respondents One in five pesticides reported by survey respondents has been classified by the WHO as “Extremely Hazardous”. Number of pesticide applications by WHO classification Classification Frequency Percent Extremely hazardous Moderately hazardous Slightly hazardous Unclassified Total Note: Based on 51 active ingredients and 161 formulations (commercial names)

10 Pesticide Applications Reported by Survey Respondents Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs):  The survey cited 18 applications of Endrin and 40 applications of Heptachlor were cited in the survey.  DDT is still sold in the retail markets. Number of pesticide applications by WHO classification Classification Frequency Percent Extremely hazardous Moderately hazardous Slightly hazardous Unclassified Total Note: Based on 51 active ingredients and 161 formulations (commercial names)

11 Use of Protective Clothing  The study found that the use of protective clothing during mixing and spraying of pesticides was not a common practice.  Farmers usually worked in the fields and sprayed pesticides bare footed (only 1% reported wearing sandals);  2% wear gloves while spraying pesticides;  57% of the farming population cover their head with ‘gamchha’ while working in the fields;  8% reportedly wear hats;  6% use locally available cotton masks (the cotton mask in use is, essentially, an ordinary piece of cloth kept in place by strings made of cloth; hence quite ineffective);  3% use eye glasses.

12 Health Effects Acute:  mild headaches  flu-like symptoms  skin rashes  blurred vision  other neurological disorders Chronic:  cardiopulmonary problems  neurological and hematological symptoms  adverse dermal effects

13 Overall Health Effects found in the Survey 47% of the farmers and pesticide applicators in the survey reported frequent health problems such as irritation in their eyes, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath, skin effects, and even convulsions among others.

14 Overall Health Effects found in the Survey  47% of the farmers and pesticide applicators in the survey reported frequent health problems such as irritation in their eyes, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath, skin effects, and even convulsions among others.  Among those (respondents) who experienced ailments 86% were quite sure that their ailments were due to exposure to pesticides.  The interviews further revealed that 28% of the respondents experienced multiple health effects, with the maximum number of ailments as five.

15 Specific Health Effects found in the Survey Among the most perceptible health problems encountered in the survey, eye effects, neurological effects (headache, dizziness), dermal effects and gastrointestinal tract effects (vomiting) were the most common. Right after application of pesticides:  27% of the respondents reported irritation in the eyes  33% reported headache/ and dizziness  14% reported skin irritation  9% reported vomiting

16 Duration of Reported Ailments

17 Safer Alternative: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) In contrast to the 47% among the general pesticide-using population only 31% of the IPM farmers reported health problems such as irritation in their eyes, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath and skin effects. Statistical analysis confirmed the difference in health effects is significant.

18 Is Environmentally-Friendly Agriculture Less Profitable for Farmers? Evidence on Integrated Pest Management

19 Regional Distribution of Survey Respondents DistrictConventional FarmersIPM Farmers Bogra270 Chapainawabganj30 Chittagong560 Comilla6131 Jessore11154 Kishoreganj3520 Munshiganj250 Narsingdi820 Rajshahi1378 Rangpur6826 Mymensingh840 Total689139

20 Adoption of IPM Education, prior training, experience, ownership and poor health have significant positive effect on IPM adoption probability. IPM Techniques in Practice :  Manual removal of pests (70% of the sample),  Use of natural parasites and predators (58%),  Light traps (14%),  Crop rotation (10%)  Smoke (5%).

21 Reasons behind IPM Adoption  Ministry officials’ recommendations (41%)  Cost-saving from reduced pesticide use (33%)  Environmental benefits (12%)  Improved health (6%)

22 Comparative Input-Use, Yield, Profitability, Soil and Environmental Effects Input-use accounting, conventional production functions and frontier production estimation suggested: 1.The productivity of IPM rice farming is not significantly different from the productivity of conventional farming. 2.Since IPM reduces pesticide costs with no countervailing loss in production, it appears to be more profitable than conventional rice farming. 3.Our interview results also suggest substantial health and ecological benefits.

23 Health Effects of IPM: Farmer Interviews Have you noticed any changes in your health condition?  Shahid Hossain - One of his neighbors who used to apply pesticides was suffering from illness. After IPM training Shahid Hossain and others convinced him to stop using pesticides. Now his neighbor is much better health-wise.  Chittaranjan Das - used to feel dizzy and itchy all over his body after spraying pesticides. Now he does not have those problems since he stopped using pesticides.  During the period when Haripada Das used to apply pesticides he and others suffered from various illnesses. However, after stopping pesticide use they no longer suffer from those health problems.

24 Observed Change in Soil, Water and Air Quality after IPM adoption

25 Effects of IPM on Soil: Farmer Interviews Has the IPM method changed the productivity of the soil?  Shahid Hossain - before 2000 (when he used pesticides), productivity per 33 decimals of land was 15/16 maund (1 maund=37.5 kg) of rice whereas since 2000 the yield has been 20/22 maund with land size and fertilizer use remaining the same. Thus he gained from using IPM.  ChittaRanjan Das - IPM has brought positive changes in productivity. He used to get maunds of paddy from 50 decimals of land when he applied pesticides, and now gets maunds of paddy from the same piece of land by applying IPM.  Haripada Das - IPM increased productivity of the soil, per season 33 decimals of land used to produce maunds of rice using pesticides, now producing maunds of rice under IPM.

26 Recommendations  Information system on pesticides  Monitoring health and environmental effects of pesticides  Evaluation and promotion of safer alternatives


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