Knowledge, attitude, and practice of Indonesian farmers regarding the use of personal protective equipment against pesticide exposure

  • Maria G. C. Yuantari
  • Cornelis A. M. Van Gestel
  • Nico M. Van Straalen
  • Budi Widianarko
  • Henna R. Sunoko
  • Muhammad N. Shobib


The use of synthetic pesticides in tropical countries has increased over the years, following the intensification of agriculture. However, awareness among farmers of the importance of protecting themselves from hazards associated with pesticide application is still lacking, especially in Indonesia. This paper reports results of an inventory on knowledge and attitudes regarding pesticide use by melon farmers of a village in Central Java, Indonesia. The importance of using personal protective equipment such as hats, masks, goggles, boots, and gloves on agricultural land is known and well understood by the farmers. However, in practice, only 3.8 % were wearing glasses and 1.9 % were using boots. In fact, the masks used only consisted of a part of their shirt tied around the mouth. The farmers were not wearing long pants and shirts with long sleeves and used the same clothes for more than 1 day without washing. Almost no farmers used personal protective equipment that was standard, in good condition, and complete. Based on the results of statistical analysis, no significant relationship was found between knowledge and attitude on the required practices on the one hand and the use of personal protective equipment in practice on the other hand. This shows that improved knowledge and attitudes are not enough to change the behavior of farmers to work in a healthy and safe way. The gap between knowledge and practice needs to be bridged by a more interactive and participatory training model. It is therefore of paramount importance to develop a special toolkit for pesticide risk reduction which is developed in a participatory manner involving the farmers as the main actors through a series of focus group discussions and field simulations.


Knowledge Attitude Practice Farmer Pesticide exposure Risk assessment Health protection 



The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia, which has helped to fund this research and provided a scholarship to MG. Catur Yuantari allowing a visit to the Department of Ecological Science, VU University Amsterdam.


  1. Adigun, A. A., Wrench, N., Seidler, F. J., & Slotkin, T. A. (2010). Neonatal organophosphorus pesticide exposure alters developmental trajectory of cell signaling cascades controlling metabolism: differential effects of diazinonand parathion. Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(2), 210–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aslam, M., Ali, T., Zafar, M. I., & Ahmad, M. (2007). Training needs of fruit growers regarding pesticide use for sustainable environmental health in Punjab. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 44(3), 511–518.Google Scholar
  3. Atreya, K., Johnsen, F. H., & Sitaula, B. K. (2011). Health and environmental costs of pesticide use in vegetable farming in Nepal. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 14(4), 477–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Devi, P. I. (2009a). Health risk perceptions, awareness and handling behaviour of pesticides by farm workers. Agricultural Economics Research Review, 22, 263–268.Google Scholar
  5. Devi, P. I. (2009b). Pesticide application and occupational health risks among farm worker in Kerala an analysis using dose response function. Indian Journal of Agricutural Economy, 64(4), 557–572.Google Scholar
  6. Garming, H., & Waibel, H. (2009). Pesticides and farmer health in Nicaragua: a willingness-to-pay approach to evaluation. The European Journal of Health Economics: HEPAC: Health Economics in Prevention and Care, 10(2), 125–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Goldner, W. S., Sandler, D. P., Yu, F., Hoppin, J. A., Kamel, F., & LeVan, T. D. (2010). Pesticide use and thyroid disease among women in the agricultural health study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 171(4), 455–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jintana, S., Sming, K., Krongtong, Y., & Thanyaachai, S. (2009). Cholinesterase activity, pesticide exposure and health impact in population exposed to organophosphates. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 82(7), 833–842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jirachaiyabhas, V., Visuthismajarn, P., & Robson, M. G. (2004). Exposure assessment of traditional and IPM farmers on using pesticides: a case study at Bang Rieng Sub District, KhuanNieng District, Songkhla Province. Environment & Hazardous Management, 26(suppl.1), 161–170.Google Scholar
  10. Jones, E., Mabota, A., & Larson, D. W. (2008). Farmers’ knowledge of health risks and protective gear associated with pesticide use on cotton in Mozambique. The Journal of Developing Areas, 42(2), 267–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. LePrevost, C. E., Storm, J. F., Blanchard, M. R., Asuaje, C. R., & Cope, W. G. (2013). Engaging Latino farmworkers in the development of symbols to improve pesticide safety and health education and risk communication. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 15(5), 975–981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lund, T., Saethre, M. G., Nyborg, I., Coulibaly, O., & Rahman, M. H. (2010). Farmer field school-IPM impacts on urban and peri-urban vegetable producers in Cotonou, Benin. International Journal of Tropical Insect Science, 30(1), 19–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mancini, F., Van Bruggen, A. H. C., & Jiggins, J. L. S. (2006). Evaluating cotton Integrated Pest Management (IPM) farmer field school outcomes using the sustainable livelihoods approach In India. Experimental Agriculture, 43(1), 97–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mcgee, B. (2010). Economics information survey of pesticide use Ontario estimates of pesticides used on field crops, fruit and vegetable crops, and other agricultural crops (The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs). Toronto: Queen’s Printer For Ontario. ISBN 978-1-4435-3358-4.Google Scholar
  15. Mekonnen, Y., & Agonafir, T. (2002). Pesticide sprayers’ knowledge, attitude and practice of pesticide use on agricultural farms of Ethiopia. Occupational Medicine (Oxford, England), 52(6), 311–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mohanty, M. K., Behera, B. K., Jena, S. K., Srikanth, S., Mogane, C., Samal, S., & Behera, A. A. (2013). Knowledge attitude and practice of pesticide use among agricultural workers in Puducherry, South India. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 20(8), 1028–1031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nafees, M., Rasul Jan, M., & Khan, H. (2008). Pesticide use in Swat valley, Pakistan. Exploring remedial measures to mitigate environmental and socio economic impact. Mountain Research and Development, 28(3), 201–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Navaranjan, G., Hohenadel, K., Blair, A., Demers, P. A., Spinelli, J. J., Pahwa, P., McLaughin, J. R., Dosman, J. A., Ritter, L., & Harris, S. A. (2013). Exposures to multiple pesticides and the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma in Canadian men. Cancer Causes &Control: CCC, 24(9), 1661–1673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Oluwole, O., & Cheke, R. A. (2009). Health and environmental impact of pesticide use practices: a case study of farmers in Ekiti State, Nigeria. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 7(3), 153–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rother, H. A. (2008). South African farm workers’ interpretation of risk assessment data expressed as pictograms on pesticide labels. Environmental Research, 108(3), 419–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Health and Safety Executive (2005). Personal protective equipment at work. Second Edition. Licensing Division, Her Majesty’s Stationery office St. Clement House 2-16 Norwich NR3 1 BQ, ISBN 0717661393.Google Scholar
  22. Salameh, P. R., Baldi, I., Brochard, P., & AbiSaleh, B. (2004). Pesticide in Lebanon: a knowledge, attitute, and practice study. Environmental Research, 94(1), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sam, K. G., Andrade, H. H., Pradhan, L., Pradan, A., Sones, S. J., Rao, P. G. M., & Sudhakar, C. (2008). Effectiveness of educational program to Promote pesticide safety among pesticide handlers of South India. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 81(6), 787–795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Srivastava, S., Narvi, S. S., & Prasad, S. C. (2008). Organochlorines and organophosphates in Bovine milk samples in Allahabad Region. International Journal ofEnvironmental Research, 2(2), 165–168.Google Scholar
  25. Stadlinger, N., Mmochi, A. J., Dobo, S., Gyllback, E., & Kumblad, L. (2011). Pesticide use among smallholder rice farmers in Tanzania. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 13(3), 641–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Van Hoi, P., Mol, A. P. J., Oosterveer, P., & van den Brink, P. J. (2009). Pesticide distribution and use in vegetable production in the Red River Delta of Vietnam. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 24(3), 174–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wang, F., Xin, J., Yong-rong, B., Fenxia, Y., Hang-jian, G., Guifen, Y., Munch, J. C., & Schroll, R. (2007). Organochlorine pesticides in soils under different land usage in the Taihu Lake region, China. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 19(5), 584–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Weigel, R. (2012). Solutions for living, personal protective equipment for agriculture. Project Director Wyoming Agrability University of Wyoming Extension. Accessed
  29. Weisskopf, M. G., Moisan, F., Tzourio, C., Rathouz, P. J., & Elbaz, A. (2013). Pesticide exposure and depression among agricultural workers in France. American Journal of Epidemiology, 178(7), 1051–1058.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. World Health Organization (WHO). (2004). International Programme on chemical safety, guidelines on the prevention of toxic exposures education and public awareness activities. Geneva: World Health Organization. ISBN 92 4 154611 5.Google Scholar
  31. Yamamoto, H. (2003). Assessing the side effect of pesticide on microbial ecosystem in the soil environment. Journal of Pesticide Science, 28, 215–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zartarian, V. G., Schultz, B. D., Barzyk, T. M., Smuts, M., Hammond, D. M., Vera, M. M., & Geller, A. M. (2011). The Environmental Protection Agency’ s Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST) and its potential use for environmental justice efforts. American Journal of Public Health, 101(Suppl.1), 286–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zyoud, S. H., Sawalha, A. F., Sweileh, W. M., Awang, R., Al-Khalil, S. I., Al-Jabi, S. W., & Bsharat, N. M. (2010). Knowledge and practices of pesticide use among farm workers in the West Bank, Palestine: safety implications. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 15(4), 252–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria G. C. Yuantari
    • 1
    • 4
  • Cornelis A. M. Van Gestel
    • 2
  • Nico M. Van Straalen
    • 2
  • Budi Widianarko
    • 1
    • 3
  • Henna R. Sunoko
    • 1
  • Muhammad N. Shobib
    • 4
  1. 1.Environmental Science Doctoral ProgramDiponegoro UniversitySemarangIndonesia
  2. 2.Department of Ecological Science, Faculty of Earth and Life SciencesVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands
  3. 3.Graduate Program on Environment and Urban StudiesSoegijapranata Catholic UniversitySemarangIndonesia
  4. 4.Faculty of Public HealthDian Nuswantoro UniversitySemarangIndonesia

Personalised recommendations