Pesticides and Philippine Rice Farmer Health: A Medical and Economic Analysis uri icon

abstract

  • Pesticides continue to be a significant and growing component of Asian rice cultivation. The relative importance of pesticides has increased despite the availability of alternatives to exclusive chemical control such as varietal resistance and Integrated Pest Management (IPM). While there is growing concern about the adverse human health effects of pesticides, little systematic research has been done to address this issue. The few studies that exist are based on speculative and anecdotal paradigms.
  • This paper reports on a unique study in which economists and a medical doctor teamed up to assess the impact of prolonged pesticide use on farmer health. The specific objectives of this study were to identify the types of health impairments that may be attributed to long-term pesticide use and to quantify the magnitude of the impairments relative to the level of pesticide use. Detailed medical examinations found rice farmers exhibiting symptoms of long-term exposure to hazardous chemicals. Econometric analysis showed the magnitude of the chronic health effects and health costs to be directly related to pesticide exposure, among other factors. When health effects were explicitly included, the net benefits of insecticide use were negative. In a complimentary study, on the same sample, Antle and Pingali found pesticide related health impairments to cause significant reductions in labor productivity.

publication date

  • 1994
  • 1994
  • 1994