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Addressing Pesticide Risk Management and Risk Reduction Through Distance Learning Education

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Pesticide use is extensive in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). For example, pesticides are used for crop production, public health vector control, domestic use, veterinary uses, forestry use, pest control in public buildings and places (e.g., supermarkets, hotels, hospitals, offices, golf courses, parks), migratory pests, maritime use, and transport. Using pesticides for pest management, however, brings with it the potential for negative health and environmental risks as a result of the toxic nature of all pesticides. Subsequently, many measures have been put in place to monitor, control and minimize these risks including legislation, guidance documents, Safety Data Sheets, labels, product stewardship to various training courses and workshops. In many LMIC, these measures have had limited impact on reducing pesticide poisonings, environmental contamination, development of pesticide resistance, and hazardous waste stockpiling. Furthermore, registration and re-registration evaluations of pesticides and bio-pesticides often take too long. A major reason for the limited impact and registration lag is the lack of human and financial capacity and resources to implement and enforce these measures. In many LMIC, the risk management task (encompassing risk assessment and risk evaluations) falls upon a few regulatory officials (often ranging from 2-10 people in LMIC versus 80-300 people in High Income Countries; HIC). Pesticide management requires comprehensive skills to address the range of aspects and issues that cover the full-life cycle of a pesticide. In order to assess risk assessment data submitted for registering a pesticide, LMIC regulators need: 1) skills to assess health and environmental data; and 2) broader knowledge of the potential impacts on vulnerable populations and ecosystems for which they need to understand application of the data to the use contexts. Yet regulators and other pesticide risk managers, tend to have technical backgrounds in only one field (e.g., chemistry, biology, agronomy, health, environmental science) making it challenging to address the full range of health, environmental, socio-economic, and policy relevant issues expertly.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2015

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