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 Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells

19.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>