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Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers

Reducing exposure to agrochemicals


Recognize the problem

Excess exposure to agrochemicals can be hazardous to human health. This can occur due to non-use or incorrect use of protective equipment by spray operators.


Pesticides are toxic to both pests and humans.  However, they need not pose a risk to humans, if suitable precautions are taken. Most pesticides will cause adverse effects if they are ingested, absorbed through the skin or inhaled as droplets or powder.

Lack of appropriate protective clothing can cause these harmful chemicals to enter the body which will result in poisoning or even death.


Spray at cool times of the day (evening or morning) so that wearing protective equipment is bearable in the heat.

The concentrated chemical is especially hazardous and additional equipment may be required when handling these chemicals.

Wear a specially produced spray suit or at least a long-sleeved shirt and full length pants.
  • Wear long rubber gloves and rubber boots
  • Your pants should go on the outside of the boots
  • Your sleeves should be on the inside of the gloves
  • Wear a hat to keep the chemical out of your hair
  • Wear a mask, preferably with a filter; if not available, use a bandanna*
  • Wear protective glasses/sunglasses
Maintain the spraying equipment and check for leaks, replace the filter in the mask often.  Make sure the mask is suitable for agrochemicals use.

*A bandanna may not give good protection and could make you think you are protected when you are not.

The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to: Barbados

Authors: Barney Callender
Greame Hall, Christ Church
tel: (246) 434-5084 email:

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