Heat-Related Illnesses among Pesticide Applicators in North-Eastern Italy (2017)

Matteo Riccò, Luigi Vezzosi, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi, Federica Balzarini

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Abstract

Objectives: Pesticide applicators (PAs) are potentially at high risk for developing heat-related illnesses (HRI). To identify HRI burden and potential targets for preventive interventions, a questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was performed on a sample of PAs from North Eastern Italy. Methods: The study inquired about HRI knowledge and relative risk perception as cumulative sum scores and behavioral adaptations, including the use of sun protective equipment, both as dichotomous factors and cumulative scores. Participants rated the frequency of HRI symptoms during the previous warm season: three or more occurring at least once/month defined HRI status. Association of individual/behavioral factors with HRI status was assessed through binary regression analysis by calculating odds ratios (OR) with the respective 95% confidence intervals (95%CI). A linear regression analysis was performed assuming the sum of symptoms as the outcome variable. Results: Participating in the survey was 131 Pas (81.7% males; mean age 46.5 ± 13.9 years). Although knowledge status was good (73.6%±18.1), risk perception was quite low (34.4%±16.9). HRI status was reported by 41.2% of participants, and was associated with manual hoeing/weeding (OR:8.847 95%CI 1.882–41.579), pesticide application (OR:2.975 95%CI 1.185–42.035), and rests in shady, not air-conditioned areas (OR:5.491 95%CI 1.372–21.971); while in regression analysis the sum of sun protective habits was the only negative predictor for the sum of reported symptoms (B −0.014, 95%CI −0.235 to −0.026, p = 0.014). Conclusion: Our results stress the opportunity for raising the risk perception of PAs through specifically tailored interventions. The use of sun-protective equipment should be promoted as an effective method to counter HRI symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agromedicine
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • agricultural workers
  • attitudes and practices
  • knowledge
  • personal hygiene and sanitation
  • personal protective equipment
  • Solar radiation
  • ultraviolet radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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