Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Looking at pesticide labels through multi-colored glasses

14.04.2003


Pesticides are one of the most significant sources of poison to the human nervous system when misused. New research indicates that various cultures may misinterpret the directions provided by the manufacturers, thereby increasing the chances for mishandling.



The pesticide industry considers culture to be an increasing concern due to changing demographic trends - specifically, increases in migrant laborers and overall language diversity. As these trends continue, the opportunities for communication errors with pesticide use increase. Previous studies indicate that the main reason pesticides are misused is because customers are unable to follow the instructions. Cultural differences in how one interprets language, color, and symbols may exacerbate the problem.

To reduce the possibility of pesticide exposure, two researchers are investigating the use of cultural ergonomics to prevent pesticide exposure. Tonya Smith-Jackson, assistant professor of human factors engineering and ergonomics at Virginia Tech, and Michael Wogalter, professor of ergonomics at North Carolina State University, are working together under the auspices of a research contract from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


Using a pesticide takes more than just knowing what pest it will kill. It requires an understanding of how much to mix, how to apply it, and what protective gear to wear. “In an increasingly diverse and global society, communication ergonomics (the study of human-centered design of communications) is desperately needed to reduce the hazards associated with products and systems and the additional problems introduced by poor information design,” Smith-Jackson said.

Examples of pesticide misuse include: using too much pesticide (either too strong of a concentration or applying it too often), using an outdoor pesticide indoors, failing to follow the restricted time for reentering an area after a pesticide has been applied, or failing to wear the required safety gear, such as rubber gloves and eye goggles.

Farmers and pest managers need to be able to read and understand pesticide labels before even opening the container.

The research will improve the design of risk communications aimed at reducing or eliminating hazards related to pesticide exposures among ethnic minority farm workers, which in turn, is likely to apply to all farm workers regardless of ethnicity. Smith-Jackson and Wogalter are interviewing Latino and European-American farm workers on the use of pesticides and precautionary behavior when working on farms. The farmers being interviewed are working at peanut and fruit farms in Giles County, Va., Wake County, N.C., and Orange County, N.C.

The research project combines the disciplines of engineering, psychology, and cultural anthropology. The risk perception of migrant and seasonal farm workers who are language- and ethnic-minorities will be compared to non-minority farm workers. It is expected that even non-minority farm workers will have problems with pesticide labeling.

User-centered design guidelines for pesticide warning labels will be developed and an evaluation of usability and effectiveness will be conducted. User requirements and design specifications will be developed and disseminated to risk communication manufacturers, employers, health educators, safety and training groups, minority-serving agencies, and community-based advocacy and education groups.


Smith-Jackson’s research is in collaboration with the Southeastern Regional Agromedicine Center in Greenville, N.C. Graduate students assisting with this research include Yvette Quintela, an M.S. student in psychology at Virginia Tech, and Ray Lim and Eric Shaver, Ph.D. students in psychology at N.C. State. Smith-Jackson is the director of the Assessment and Cognitive Ergonomics (ACE) Lab at Virginia Tech (http://ace.ise.vt.edu). For more information, contact Smith-Jackson at smithjack@vt.edu.

PR CONTACT: Karen Gilert 540-231-4787 karen.gilbert@vt.edu

Tonya Smith-Jackson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.technews.vt.edu/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making Waves

Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.

Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanostructures taste the rainbow

29.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique unveils 'matrix' inside tissues and tumors

29.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways

29.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>