It is important that farm workers and their families have an accurate knowledge and beliefs about pesticides. The risk you run if you don’t have accurate beliefs is that you can put your and your family’s health in danger.
Be Careful Around Pesticides!
There is not enough research and scientific evidence to fully understand what exposure to pesticides does to your health over a short or long period of time, but it’s pretty certain that there are negative health effects from it, and so we should be careful with pesticides. (3) This means that farm workers and their families need to understand the threat of these chemicals, in order to best protect their health. (3)
A Quiz on Popular Beliefs about Pesticides
Directions: Answer TRUE or FALSE to each sentence.
1. You have some control over preventing negative health outcomes, if you are exposed to pesticides.
Answer: TRUE. (3) (See the Pesticides and Protecting Your Family tab for practical ways on how to do this.)
2. Family members who live with farm workers don’t need to be cautious of getting sick from pesticides.
Answer: FALSE. Farm workers can bring home pesticides on their clothes and skin, and can spread them into the house and to family members.
3. Children have a higher risk of negative outcomes if they are exposed to pesticides.
Answer: TRUE. Why? Because it takes a smaller amount of pesticides to get children sick, they absorb them better, “and their hand-to-mouth behavior puts them more at risk to accidentally eat pesticides.”(4)
4. If you don’t work in the fields, you aren’t at risk of being in contact with pesticides.
Answer: FALSE. If you work in the fields and use or are around pesticides, you are more at risk for negative health effects from them. You might think because you’re not in the field, you’re not at risk. Wrong! If you live with a farm worker, everyone in the household is at risk of getting sick from pesticides.
5. Pesticides are “contagious” or exposure is like an “infection.”
Answer: FALSE. Pesticides are not like a cold, you can’t “catch” pesticides. (3) You can spread the chemical around if you are exposed to it, and are not careful. For example, if you are cooking and get butter on your fingers, if you don’t wash your hands, everything you touch will get a little butter on it.