NNA – With the help of a new training guide developed by FAO and the International Labour Organization (ILO), extension workers in Africa and elsewhere are engaging with rural communities to reduce children’s exposure to toxic pesticides used in farming.
Nearly 100 million boys and girls between 5 and 17 years old are engaged in child labour in agriculture, according to ILO statistics. Many are directly exposed to toxic chemicals while working on the farm. But children are also exposed when they help with family chores or play, and through the food they eat and the water they drink.
Children are far more sensitive to pesticides than adults. Exposure can result in acute poisoning and sickness immediately after contact. But often, it also has longer-term, chronic impacts on their health and development.
Limiting pesticide use and promotion of non-toxic alternatives are important for reducing exposure, but education is equally crucial.
Protect children from pesticides!, FAO and ILO’s new visual guide, provides an easy accessible training tool. It helps agricultural extension workers, rural educators, labour inspectors, and producer organizations in teaching farmers and their families how to identify and minimize risks at home and on the farm. They also learn how to recognize and respond to signs of toxic exposure.
The user-friendly guide has three main modules: how children are exposed to pesticides, what the health risks are and why children are particularly vulnerable, and what can be done to reduce those risks.–FAO