The Value of Christmas Trees

"...there is no reason why the joy associated with the Christmas evergreen may not be a means of arousing in the minds of children an appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of trees; and keen appreciation of the beauty and usefulness of trees is a long stop toward the will to plant and care for them (Arthur Sowder, US Forest Service, 1949)."

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Pesticide Safety Training Materials

The folks at North Carolina State University have put together a training packet for Christmas tree growers to share with their Latino farmworkers. Called the Pesticides and Farmworker Health Toolkits (click to see information at NCSU), the programs are specific to the different commodities grown in North Carolina. The standard kit includes:
--Introductory DVD for trainers,
--Flip-chart in Spanish (with discussion guides for trainers and colorful visuals illustrating the trainer’s message for the audience),
--One-page illustrated handouts in Spanish,
--Interactive materials, including jug and labels and symptom charade cards,
The one for Christmas trees is hot off the presses. We used it at a Latino farmworker safety training on July 13 in Foscoe. Held at Hawk Mountain Tree Farms, the training included several stations, one of which was pesticide safety. I helped Jim Hamilton, Watauga County Director and Charles Clark and Travis Snodgrass, both with NCDA conduct the training.

Jim Hamilton explaining about chemical resistant footwear.
Charles Clark and Jim Hamilton use the flipchart to teach workers about pesticide toxicity.
In these training materials, the toxicity of different materials is related to a stop light. Very toxic materials having a "Danger" signal word have a red light, materials that have a "Warning" signal word show a yellow light, and the least toxic materials with a "Caution" signal word have a green light. The handout in Spanish is divided into insecticides and herbicides and feature the most commonly used pesticides with their respective signal words. Symptoms of pesticides exposure are also shown.

Workers can take this chart home, showing the common materials used for Christmas tree production in NC.
The flipchart also lists routes of pesticide exposure and symptoms of pesticide poisoning. Jim Hamilton also describes in Spanish parts of the body that require greater protection from pesticide exposure in the following video:

Flipchart showing routes of pesticide exposure -- dermal and inhalation. 
Fit tests for pesticide respirators were also reviewed by Travis Snodgrass. First cover the filters. If the respirator fits properly, you won't be able to breath in more air. All air passes through the filter. Second, cover where air is released from the respirator when you breath out. With that covered, you shouldn't be able to blow more air out of the mask. This demonstrates that the filters can't be bypassed.
Cover the filters and if the mask fits, you can't pull more air into the mask.
Cover where air comes out of the mask, and you can't push more air out.
The toolkits should be available soon for growers at the NCSU Toxicology Extension website. Some will be available from the county extension offices. We hope to get on video more safety trainings in the coming months and put them on YouTube so that they are available to everyone.

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