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Risk-accepting personality and personal protective equipment use within the Agricultural Health Study.

Dellavalle CT; Hoppin JA; Hines CJ; Andreotti G; Alavanja MC
J Agromedicine 2012 Jul; 17(3):264-276
Pesticide exposures can be reduced by use of personal protective equipment as well as proper mixing and application practices. The authors examined the effects of risk-accepting personality on personal protective equipment (PPE) use and mixing and application practices among private pesticide applicators and their spouses within the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) in Iowa and North Carolina and commercial applicators in Iowa. The AHS follow-up questionnaire included four questions designed to assess attitudes toward risk. Analysis was limited to those who were currently working on a farm or registered as a commercial applicator and indicated current pesticide use (n=25,166). Respondents who answered three or more questions in the affirmative (private applicators: n=4160 [21%]; commercial applicators: n=199 [14%]; spouses: n=829 [23%]) were classified as having a risk-accepting personality. Logistic regression was used to evaluate specific work practices associated with risk-accepting attitudes. Among private applicators, the likelihood of using any PPE when mixing or loading pesticides was lower among risk-acceptors compared to risk-averse individuals (odds ratio [OR] = 0.72, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.65-0.79). A similar relationship was observed among commercial applicators (OR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.34-1.77) but not among spouses (OR = 1.09, 95% CI: 0.90-1.33). Among private applicators, risk-acceptors were more likely than the risk-averse to apply pesticides within 50 feet of the home (OR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.01-1.44), compared to further than ¼ mile. These findings suggest that the decisions to use personal protective equipment and properly handle/apply pesticides may be driven by risk-accepting personality traits. [Supplementary materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Journal of Agromedicine for the following free supplemental resource: Adjusted odds ratios of PPE use and risk accepting personality traits among participants currently applying pesticides in the Agricultural Health Study (1999-2005)].
Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Agricultural-chemicals; Agricultural-processes; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Farmers; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Behavior; Behavior-patterns; Questionnaires; Statistical-analysis; Epidemiology; Work-practices; Safety-clothing; Safety-practices; Protective-clothing; Author Keywords: Agricultural Health Study; personal protective equipment; pesticide; risk-accepting behavior
Curt T. DellaValle, PhD, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH/DHHS, 6120 Executive Boulevard, EPS 8011, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
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Journal Article
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Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
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Journal of Agromedicine
Page last reviewed: May 13, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division