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 Back to Nature: Palm oil plantations are being turned back into protected rainforest
21.03.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

nachricht The inner struggle of the evening primrose: Chloroplasts are caught up in an evolutionary arms race
14.03.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie

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: Quantum gas turns supersolid

Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.

Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple and Fast Method for Radiolabelling Antibodies against Breast Cancer

23.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Quantum gas turns supersolid

23.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>