Pesticides play an important role in agricultural development. However, pesticide application can result in both acute and chronic human toxicities, and the adverse effects of pesticides on the environment and human health remain a serious problem. There is therefore a need to discuss the application methods for pesticides, the routes of pesticide exposure, and the health risks posed by pesticide application. The health problems related to pesticide application and exposure in developing countries are of particular concern. The purpose of this paper is to provide scientific information for policymakers in order to allow the development of proper pesticide application technics and methods to minimize pesticide exposure and the adverse health effects on both applicators and communities. Studies indicate that there are four main pesticide application methods, including hydraulic spraying, backpack spraying, basal trunk spraying, and aerial spraying. Pesticide application methods are mainly selected by considering the habits of target pests, the characteristics of target sites, and the properties of pesticides. Humans are directly exposed to pesticides in occupational, agricultural, and household activities and are indirectly exposed to pesticides via environmental media, including air, water, soil, and food. Human exposure to pesticides occurs mainly through dermal, oral, and respiratory routes. People who are directly and/or indirectly exposed to pesticides may contract acute toxicity effects and chronic diseases. Although no segment of the general population is completely protected against exposure to pesticides and their potentially serious health effects, a disproportionate burden is shouldered by people in developing countries. Both deterministic and probabilistic human health risk assessments have their advantages and disadvantages and both types of methods should be comprehensively implemented in research on exposure and human health risk assessment. Equipment for appropriate pesticide application is important for application efficiency to minimize the loss of spray solution as well as reduce pesticide residuals in the environment and adverse human health effects due to over-spraying and residues. Policymakers should implement various useful measures, such as integrated pest management (IPM) laws that prohibit the use of pesticides with high risks and the development of a national implementation plan (NIP) to reduce the adverse effects of pesticides on the environment and on human health.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.