Pesticides are intensively used in agriculture worldwide. While it is well established that pesticide exposure accounts for considerable morbidity and mortality on a global level, no studies from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) exist that have examined in an integrative approach the interrelation between institutional determinants of pesticide use, actual practice of pesticide applications on small-scale farms, and associated human and environmental health effects.
The aim of this inter- and trans-disciplinary research project, combining environmental monitoring, epidemiology, clinical examinations and exposure assessment with institutional and policy analysis, is to deepen the understanding of the environmental, health and regulatory dimensions of pesticide use in agriculture in LMICs.
In two study areas in Costa Rica and Uganda, data is collected by means of: (i) environmental sampling campaigns in streams and drinking water wells; (ii) cross-sectional epidemiological surveys in small-scale farmers practising organic and conventional farming; (iii) in-depth analysis of official documents and legal texts; and (iv) interviews with key representatives of public agencies, non-governmental organisations and farmers associations. Comparative analysis and stakeholder workshops are at the core of the final integrated assessments.