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Wake Forest Investigators Complete Spanish-Language Video on Pesticide Safety

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest University School of Medicine investigators have completed "El Terror Invisible," a Spanish-language educational video on pesticide safety aimed at North Carolina farm workers. "This video is intended to be part of an education program that provides the basic information needed by farm workers to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency''s Worker Protection Standard training requirements for field workers and pesticide handlers," said Thomas A. Arcury, Ph.D., the project''s principal investigator.

He said the entire video is in Spanish with English subtitles. "The subtitles allow employers, health educators and others who do not speak Spanish to understand what is being presented in the video."

The video has three sections:

  • Safety with Pesticides: Pesticide Risk and the Invisible Terror (Seguridad con pesticidas: Riesgos de los pesticidas y el terror invisible), a 27-minute section providing basic safety information.
  • Pesticide Handler: What’s Important to be a Pesticide Handler (Manipulador Que significa ser un manipulador de pesticidas?, a 17.5-minute section providing an introduction to U.S. E.P.A. requirements for pesticide handlers and applicators.
  • The Green Monster: Green Tobacco Sickness (El Monstruo verde: Enfermedad del tabaco verde), a 9-minute section informing workers about the causes, symptoms and prevention of green tobacco sickness.

"One thing that the tape does well is to set up a conflict between characters in order to reveal information as well as to deal with common attitudes about pesticides and health," said Chan Lane, coordinator of the courseware design unit of the Department of Biomedical Communications. "Most of the stuff in the script is taken from interviews and research done by Tom (Arcury), so it''s directly relevant to "real world" situations."

"Farm workers can be exposed to a variety of pesticides as they move from crop to crop," said Arcury, research director and professor of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Wake Forest.

He said the health effects of pesticide exposure can begin immediately and include rashes, headaches, nausea, vomiting -- and death. Long-term health problems -- cancer, neurological problems and reproductive problems -- also may result.

In a letter to health workers, Arcury said, "We hope that you will use this video in your pesticide safety education program with Spanish speaking farm workers and that you will share this video with growers and service providers in your community."

He said that 500 copies were being distributed. Additional copies will be available for $15, to cover the cost of duplicating and mailing each video.

Funding for the video came from the Pesticide Environmental Trust Fund, Pesticide Board, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Syngenta, Inc.; and Aventis CropScience, Inc.; the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

Arcury said the advisory committee to review the video included representatives from the N.C. Farm Bureau Federation, the N.C. Cooperative Extension and the Migrant Health Program of the N.C. Office of Research, Demonstration and Rural Health Development.

"I''ve rarely worked with an advisory group so large and varied," said Lane. "I think we did a good job of presenting useful information in a way that''s fair to the interests of everyone who shared their ideas about the problem of pesticide safety education for farm workers."

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