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 Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

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: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>