Environmental Problems Among Rural Women and Management of Occupational Health and Safety
Authors: Rakhi Saxena, Promila Sharma, Pratibha Joshi, Kavita Narwal
Abstract: Women have long occupied a central place in agriculture production in developing countries, ensuring food security for their household and communities, but this role is not performed without adverse consequences for health. The major consequences include health risks owing due to women’s use and exposure to hazardous agro-chemicals/pesticides, farm-related accidents or physical injuries and exposure to hazardous solid fuel in the interior house. Developing countries like India have many polluting sources that produce high level of human exposure. Indoor air pollution in developing countries from biomass smoke is considered to be a significant source of public health hazard, particularly to the poor and vulnerable women and children. Women and children face the greatest exposure to the harmful health effects of pollution. Women traditionally carry out most household chores and spend a considerable part of their time indoors. The pollution also affects young children under their mothers’ care. Another source of high risk of ill health in rural India is exposure to spray of pesticides in the fields. In India, 70% of the population is farmers and they are the target group to be affected by the hazards of pesticide applications. In India, 70% of the population is farmers and they are the target group to be affected by the hazards of pesticide applications. Moreover, in developing countries the users are rather careless in handling pesticides. The high risk groups exposed to pesticides include the production workers, formulators, sprayers, mixers, loaders and agricultural farm workers. During manufacture and formulation, the possibility of hazards may be more because the processes involved are not risk free. In India, 70% of the population is farmers and they are the target group to be affected by the hazards of pesticide applications. Moreover, in developing countries the users are rather careless in handling pesticides. All pesticides in a given chemical group generally affect the human body in the same way; however, severity of the effects varies depending on the formulation, concentration, toxicity and route of exposure of the pesticide. Descriptive cum experimental research design was chosen for the study. The study was carried out in two districts Udham Singh Nagar and Nainital. Purposive cum Random sampling design was used to select the study area. Total sample size was comprised of 240 women from rural areas of Uttarakhand state in India. Experimental data was recorded through various scientific instruments and descriptive data was collected through interview schedule, awareness scales, and observation sheet. On the basis of anthropometric measurements the 5th, 50th and 95th percentile was calculated for the designing of personal protective equipments (gloves and coverall) through CAD for reducing the hazards of pesticide spraying and designing of chimney for minimizing the hazards of smoke originated by traditional cooking source. It was found from investigation that indoor air pollution and pesticide hazards were almost same for the families of hill region but sufferings related to indoor air pollution and pesticide hazards were more in the plain region as compare to hill region. The healthy and natural environmental conditions in the hill region and less dense housing of this region were the cause of less suffering from cooking smoke and pesticide spraying conditions. Taking the above fact into account the chances of diseases, risks and hazards were less for families of hill region.
Keywords: Rural Women, Occupational Health Hazards, Ergonomics
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