Subjective production of exposure to agrochemicals. A scoping review

Nicolás Rodríguez González About the author

Abstract

The intensification of agriculture in countries of the Southern Cone of Latin America has led to a significant rise in the use of agrochemicals. Scientific output in the field of health has concentrated on the epidemiological aspects of this issue and studies addressing the social dimensions of exposure to these substances remain scarce. The aim of this scoping review was to assess the scientific literature on the subjective production of groups exposed to agrochemicals. To this end, searches were conducted of the Scopus, PubMed, BVS, SciELO, and DOAJ databases for articles published between 1991 and 2016. A complementary search strategy drawing on references to other studies in the selected articles was also adopted. The findings show that the studies give subjective production different names and that the predominant themes covered by the literature were risk perception and health beliefs. With regard to understanding-explaining the subjective production process, a series of articles focused on individual lifestyles, while another group considered collective ways of life. The wide-ranging findings suggest that this area is a field of study in dispute, where positivist and functionalist approaches converge with historically situated studies that adopt a critical perspective.

Social perception; Pesticide; Review

Introduction

The advance of technology and chemical-dependent agriculture has led to a growing body of research directed at generating knowledge to mitigate or transform its various effects. Environmental, agricultural, and epidemiological studies have revealed the limitations of this production model and the need to develop strategies that give precedence to public health. The countries of the Southern Cone of Latin America have witnessed a deepening and expansion of the agricultural frontier coupled with a marked increase in the use of agrochemicals11. Pengue WA. Agricultura industrial y transnacionalización e n América Latina. México: PNUMA; 2005.

2. Oyhantçabal G, Narbondo I. Radiografía del agronegocio sojero. Montevideo: REDES-AT; 2008.
-33. Asociación Brasilera de Salud Colectiva (Abrasco). Dossiê Abrasco: um alerta sobre os impactos dos agrotóxicos na saúde. Rio de Janeiro: EPSJV; 2015.. The application of the herbicide glyphosate in Argentina for example increased by 1,400% between 1996 and 200644. Almeyra G, Concheiro Bórquez L, Mendes Pereira JM, Porto-Gonçalvez CW, coordinadores. Capitalismo: tierra y poder en América Latina (1982-2012). México: CLACSO; 2014., while the amount of glyphosate applied to agricultural crops in Brazil rose from 57,600 tons in 2003 to 300,000 tons in 200955. Londres F, Monteiro D. Agrotóxicos no Brasil - um guia para ação em defesa da vida. Río de Janeiro: ANA-RBJA; 2011.. In Uruguay and Paraguay, on the other hand, imports of agrochemicals increased from 7,000 tons in 2002 to 24,000 in 2015 and from 9,000 tons in 2009 to 31,000 tons in 2015, respectively66. Uruguay. Ministerio de Ganadería, Agricultura y Pesca (MGAP). Datos e stadísticos de productos fitosanitarios. Montevideo: MGAP; 2015.,77. Palau M, coordinadora. Con la soja al cuello. Asunción: BASE; 2015.. Part of these increases is linked to the application of technological packages to extensively cultivated crops, including direct drilling, the use of genetically-modified seeds, and chemical fallow22. Oyhantçabal G, Narbondo I. Radiografía del agronegocio sojero. Montevideo: REDES-AT; 2008.,88. Morina JO, Cacace GP. Capitalismo agrario y expansión sojera en la Argentina. Revista de Geografía Meridiano 2013; 2:105-126..

These changes in agricultural practices have led to a large rise in the number of groups and communities exposed to these chemical substances and heightening concerns, denunciations, and fears regarding the health effects of agrochemical use. Publications addressing the links between agrochemicals and a range of health impacts have tended to concentrate on the epidemiological dimensions of the problem and are limited to works on the psychological and social aspects of exposure to these substances. The present study therefore explores this gap in scientific output, identifying articles addressing the subjective dimensions of exposure to agrochemicals published over the last 25 years. To capture the full scope of studies in the field of social sciences and health, a literature search of electronic databases was conducted guided by the following questions: what are the main features of the studies?; what conceptual categories do they use to define the subjective production of individuals or groups?; and to what extent do the studies consider the structural, collective and singular conditioning factors influencing the creation of meaning?

The establishment of an a priori definition of subjective production for the purposes of the literature search and terms used is a complex and difficult task. This complexity stems from the diversity of epistemological and ontological outlooks developed to conceptualize the mediation processes played out between groups and social facts99. Castro R. Teoría social y salud. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2016.. This mediation confronts what Samaja1010. Samaja J. Epistemología de la salud. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2009. calls “ontological dispute”, where three categorial repertoires represent, understand, and/or explain health situations in different ways: a) those who conceive these situations as entities and study the phenomena of naturalization; b) those who focus on social interactions and resort to comprehensive methods; and c) those framed in discursive constructions who attempt to elucidate the effects of truth. In keeping with the above, in her discussion of the lines of thought pursued by the social sciences within the field of health, Minayo1111. Minayo MCS. La artesanía de la investigación cualitativa. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2013. observes four ways of thinking that delineate particular objects, theories, and methods: sociological positivism, comprehensive theories, Marxism, and systemic thinking. Although different planes of analysis, both authors acknowledge the complexity of social studies within the field of health and the need to subscribe to a certain categorial repertoire.

Based on these considerations, for the purposes of this study subjective production is understood as the creation of meaning by individuals, groups or populations. These creations of meaning correspond to the imaginary processes of subjects and their representational abilities in the symbolic plane1212. Reygadas R. Abriendo Veredas. Iniciativas públicas y sociales de las redes de organizaciones civiles. México: UAM; 1998.

13. Fernández A. Las lógicas colectivas. Buenos Aires: Biblos; 2007.
-1414. Castoriadis C. La institución imaginaria de la sociedad. Buenos Aires: Tusquets; 2010.. Moreover, they refer to individuals, groups, or populations in so much as subjective production is eminently cultural and conditioned by events, encounters, and experiences shared by subjects in their social life1515. Guattari F. Caosmosis. Buenos Aires: Manantial; 1996.,1616. Franco TB, Merhy, EE. El reconocimiento de la producción subjetiva del cuidado. Salud Colectiva 2011; 7(1):9-20.. This definition therefore captures studies that address subjective creations in a broad sense and incorporates the different repertoires and theoretical traditions to which they are inscribed1010. Samaja J. Epistemología de la salud. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2009.,1111. Minayo MCS. La artesanía de la investigación cualitativa. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2013., while excluding a series of works addressing the cognitive and behavioral aspects of exposure to agrochemicals. Without doubt, subjective production is a facet of a subject’s behavior and knowledge; however, this distinction attempts to capture the affective and imaginary elements of collective creations of meaning1414. Castoriadis C. La institución imaginaria de la sociedad. Buenos Aires: Tusquets; 2010.,1515. Guattari F. Caosmosis. Buenos Aires: Manantial; 1996..

Having delineated our understanding of subjective production, it is appropriate to discuss the definition of agrochemicals given that a variety of terms have been used to describe them. This is a rather controversial issue among those who emphasize the agricultural benefits of these substances -pesticides, phytosanitary products- and those who define them according to their environmental and health effects -agrochemicals, agrotoxics-1717. Peres F, Moreira JC, organizadores. É veneno ou é remédio?: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Rio de Janeiro: Fiocruz; 2003.. Despite this controversy, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) adopts the generic term pesticides, classifying them according to their function: insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, defoliants, bactericides, and raticides1717. Peres F, Moreira JC, organizadores. É veneno ou é remédio?: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Rio de Janeiro: Fiocruz; 2003.,1818. Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (FAO). Código internacional de conducta para la distribución y utilización de plaguicidas. Roma: FAO; 2003.. For the purposes of this study the term agrochemicals will be used. While the toxicological effects of agrochemicals in humans and the environment are widely recognized, the toxicity of these substances depends on their conditions of use1919. Betancourt O. Enfoque alternativo de la salud y seguridad en el trabajo. Prevención es Desarrollo 2009; 1(1):3-16.. In this respect, conditions of use are closely linked to the dominant production model, which determines the toxicity and public health risks of agrochemicals2020. Porto MF. Uma ecologia política dos riscos: princípios para integrarmos o local e o global na promoção da saúde e da justiça ambiental. Rio de Janeiro: Fiocruz; 2012..

This article presents a review of the literature on the subjective production of subjects and groups exposed to agrochemicals. Since the subjective approach is underpinned by an ontological and epistemological dispute1010. Samaja J. Epistemología de la salud. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2009.,1111. Minayo MCS. La artesanía de la investigación cualitativa. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2013., the study recognizes the different theoretical frames of reference used to conceptualize the production of subjectivity: the imaginary, perceptions, social representations, beliefs, etc. The study also aimed to gain insight into the way that subjective production of agrochemicals is understood-explained and to what extent its structural, collective and/or individual determinants are considered2121. Breilh J. De la vigilancia convencional al monitoreo participativo. Cien Saude Colet 2003; 8(4):937-951.. The elucidation of these aspects is intended to collaborate with more specific reviews and the promotion of empirical studies that depart from accumulated academic knowledge on this topic.

Method

A scoping review was conducted to respond the questions posed above, a method which allows mapping of a diversity of relevant literature and the identification of a wide range of study approaches2222. Arksey H, O’Malley L. Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 2005; 8(1):19-32.,2323. Levac D, Colquhoun H, O’Brien KK. Scoping studies: advancing the methodology. Implementation Science 2010; 5(69):1-9.. Data sources centered on two areas: electronic versions of scientific articles available on different databases; and references to other studies in the selected articles. The following databases were searched: Scopus, PubMed, BVS, SciELO, and DOAJ. The searches were conducted between June 2015 and July 2016 and limited to articles published since 1991. This temporal limit was justified by the fact that 1991 was the year in which the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC- WHO) published its first monograph on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans entitled Occupational Exposures in Insecticide Application, and Some Pesticides2424. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Occupational exposures in insecticide application, and some pesticides. Lyon: WHO; 1991.. While previous studies had already addressed the dangers of agrochemicals, this report was the first to establish international parameters for assessing the acute health effects of these substances, and led to a sharp rise in studies investigating the link between agrochemicals and cancer2525. Alavanja MCR, Bonner MR. Occupational Pesticide Exposures and Cancer Risk: A Review. J Toxicol Environ Health 2012; 15(4):238-263. and other illnesses2626. Mostafalou S, Abdollahi M. Pesticides and human chronic diseases: Evidences, mechanisms, and perspectives. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2013; 268(2):157-177.. No specific criteria were set with respect to geographic limits since although the use of these substances is particularly intensive in periphery countries, their application constitutes a global process11. Pengue WA. Agricultura industrial y transnacionalización e n América Latina. México: PNUMA; 2005.

2. Oyhantçabal G, Narbondo I. Radiografía del agronegocio sojero. Montevideo: REDES-AT; 2008.
-33. Asociación Brasilera de Salud Colectiva (Abrasco). Dossiê Abrasco: um alerta sobre os impactos dos agrotóxicos na saúde. Rio de Janeiro: EPSJV; 2015..

The databases were searched using a combination of free search terms and descriptors based on the guiding questions: subjective production and exposure to agrochemicals. For subjective production the following terms were used in Spanish and English: representaciones (representations), representaciones sociales (social representations), creencias (beliefs), construcción social (social construction), imaginario social (social imaginary), producciones subjetivas (subjective productions), percepción social (social perceptions) (DeCS); and belief (MeSH). The descriptors were combined with the semantic field exposure using the logical operator AND together with the following descriptors: exposición a plaguicidas (exposure to pesticides), riesgos (risks), riesgo sanitario (sanitary risk), riesgo para la salud (health risk), vulnerabilidad (vulnerability). Finally, terms linked to subjective production and exposure were also connected using the operator AND together with the different terms used to refer to agrochemicals: agrotóxicos (agrotoxics), productos agroquímicos (agrochemical products), agroquímicos (agrochemicals), plaguicidas (pesticides), uso de plaguicidas (use of pesticides), pesticidas (pesticides), herbicidas (herbicides), and productos fitosanitarios (phytosanitary products) . When this triple combination of descriptors and free terms did not yield results, all terms related to subjective production and agrochemicals were directly combined.

The searches using this combination of free terms and descriptors resulted in a total of 514 articles (PubMed 305, Scopus 83, BVS 78, DOAJ 31, and SciELO 17). The complementary search strategy drawing on references to other studies in the selected articles resulted in an additional 108 works. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to determine the final study selection. Inclusion criteria were empirical studies published between 1991 and 2016 addressing subjective production of occupational or environmental exposure to agrochemicals. Exclusion criteria were: a) studies about direct exposure to agrochemicals and their health effects; b) studies about the evaluation of social knowledge concerning agrochemical use and management; and c) studies about the assessment of the environmental effects of agrochemical use. The review of articles for study inclusion resulted in a final study selection of 40 articles, 29 of which from the databases and 11 resulting from the complementary strategy. The article selection process is detailed in Figure 1. The data extracted from the final study selection was collated into a table and subjected to thematic analysis1010. Samaja J. Epistemología de la salud. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2009.. The following section details the results and is followed by a discussion of the main findings.

Figure 1
Flow diagram of the literature search. Author’s elaboration based on Martinovich.

Results

The final study selection comprised 40 articles representing a wide range of research both in terms of disciplines and theoretical approach and backgrounds, study population, and types of production. Within this range, it is possible to identify common trends and characteristics in the topics, study objects, and approaches adopted to explain phenomena and processes. The main features of the selected articles are outlined below.

The first aspect relates to the history of research into the subjective elements of exposure to agrochemicals and the characteristics of scientific output over time. The first studies on this topic emerged in the 1990s, focusing on agricultural workers, farmers and their families. Research approaches do not partake in the same theoretical traditions and the conceptual depth of the studies is by no means homogenous. One of the works is based on risk perception studies2727. Vaughan E. Chronic exposure to an environmental hazard: risk perceptions and self-protective behavior. Health Psychology 1993; 12(1):74-85., while others focus on beliefs without providing a precise definition of the concept2828. Quandt SA, Arcury TA, Austin CK, Saavedra RM. Farmworker and farmer perceptions of farmworker agricultural chemical exposure in North Carolina. Human Organization 1998; 57(3):359-368.,2929. Popper R, Andino K, Bustamante M, Hernandez B, Rodas L. Knowledge and beliefs regarding agricultural pesticides in rural Guatemala. Environmental Management 1996; 20(2):241-248.. Research in this field became more dynamic in the twenty-first century, and 2005 saw a sharp rise in the number of publications. Research was carried out in a variety of countries, but principally in Latin America, where 20 studies were produced, 10 of which in Brazil. A total of 12 studies were undertaken in North America, all of which in the United States, while Europe, Asia, and Africa accounted for four, three, and one study, respectively. Study populations varied, but were predominantly actors directly involved in agricultural production at different scales and involving different production models: poor farmers3030. Polanco Y, Salazar JC, Curbow B. A quantitative analysis of Colombian campesinos use of pesticides: perceived control and confidence in this use. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2014; 32(3):373-382.; family farmer3131. Menasche R. Capinar: verbo conjugado no feminino? Notas de pesquisa sobre gênero e percepções de risco na agricultura familiar. Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 2004; 53:25-36.; farmers3232. Peres F, Rodrigues KM, da Silva Peixoto Belo MS, Moreira JC, Claudio L. Design of risk communication strategies based on risk perception among farmers exposed to pesticides in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Am J Ind Med 2013; 56(1):77-89.

33. Raksanam B, Taneepanichskul S, Robson MG3, Siriwong W. Health risk behaviors associated with agrochemical exposure among rice farmers in a rural community, Thailand A Community-Based ethnography. Asia Pac J Public Health 2014; 26(6):588-595.

34. Palis FG, Flor RJ, Warburton H, Hossain M. Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety. J Public Health 2006; 28(1):43-48.

35. RecenaI MC, Caldas E. Percepção de risco, atitudes e práticas no uso de agrotóxicos entre agricultores de Culturama, MS. Rev Saude Publica 2008; 42(2):294-301.

36. Peres F, Rozemberg B, de Lucca SR. Percepção de riscos no trabalho rural em uma região agrícola do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Cad Saude Publica 2005; 21(6):1836-1844.

37. Zouhri B, Feliot-Rippeault M, Michel-Guillou E, Weiss K. Representations of pesticides and social practices: the case of French farmers. Environ Sci Pollut Res 2016; 23(1):157-166.

38. Gasparini MF, Freitas CM. Trabalho rural, saúde e ambiente. As narrativas dos produtores de flor frente aos riscos socioambientais. Ambient Soc 2013; 16(3):23-44.

39. Tucker M, Napier TL. Determinants of perceived agricultural chemical risk in three watersheds in the Midwestern United States. Journal of Rural Studies 2001; 17(2):219-233.

40. Ntow WJ, Gijzen HJ, Kelderman P, Drechsel P. Farmer perceptions and pesticide use practices in vegetable production in Ghana. Pest Manag Sci 2006; 62(4):356-365.

41. Chisté AMD, Có WLO. Percepção ambiental de uma comunidade pomerana em relação ao uso de agrotóxicos. Naturaleza on line 2003; 1(1):7-11.

42. Isina S, Yildirim I. Fruit-growers’ perceptions on the harmful effects of pesticides and their reflection on practices: The case of Kemalpasa, Turkey. Crop Protection 2007; 26(7):917-922.
-4343. Cabrera NL, Leckie JO. Pesticide risk communication, risk perception, and self-protective behaviors among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2009; 31(2):258-272.; indigenous communities4444. Polanco AG, Riba IM, Angel CT, Quattrocchi P, Alvarez FJ, Solorio FJ, Navarro AJA. Risk perception and chronic exposure to organochlorine pesticides in Maya communities of Mexico. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 2015; 21(7):1960-1979.,4545. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.; and farm workers, where studies investigated the subjective dimensions of exposure to agrochemicals2727. Vaughan E. Chronic exposure to an environmental hazard: risk perceptions and self-protective behavior. Health Psychology 1993; 12(1):74-85.,2828. Quandt SA, Arcury TA, Austin CK, Saavedra RM. Farmworker and farmer perceptions of farmworker agricultural chemical exposure in North Carolina. Human Organization 1998; 57(3):359-368.,4646. Levesque DL, Arif AA. Does the perception of psychosocial factors increase the risk of pesticide exposure among seasonal Hispanic farmworkers? Int J Occup Environ Med 2014; 5(2):72-77.

47. Vargas Trejos, Y. Exposición a agroquímicos y creencias asociadas a su uso en la cuenca hidrográfica del Río Morote, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Un estudio de casos. Ciencia & Trabajo 2015; 17(52):54-68.

48. Salazar MK, Napolitano M, Scherer JA, McCauley LA. Hispanic adolescent farmworkers’ perceptions associated with pesticide exposure. West J Nurs Res 2004; 26(2):146-166.

49. Peres F, de Lucca SR, da Ponte LMD, Rodrigues KM, Rozemberg B. Percepção das condições de trabalho em uma tradicional comunidade agrícola em Boa Esperança, Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 2004; 20(4):1059-1068.

50. Fonseca MGU, Peres F, Firmo JOA, Uchôa E. Percepção de risco: maneiras de pensar e agir no manejo de agrotóxicos. Cien Saude Colet 2007; 12(1):39-50.

51. Snipes SA, Thompson B, O’Connor K, Shell-Duncan B, King D, Herrera AP, Navarro B. “Pesticides protect the fruit, but not the people”: Using community-based ethnography to understand farmworker pesticide-exposure risks. Am J Public Health 2009; 99(3):616-621.

52. Runkle JD, Tovar-Aguilar JA, Economos E, Flocks J, Williams B, Muniz JF, Semple M, McCauley L. Pesticide risk perception and biomarkers of exposure in Florida female farmworkers. J Occup Environ Med 2013; 55(11):1286-1292.

53. Damalas CA, Hashemi, SM. Pesticide risk perception and use of personal protective equipment among young and old cotton growers in northern Greece. Agrociencia 2010; 44(3):363-371.

54. Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Russell GB. Pesticide safety among farmworkers: Perceived risk and perceived control as factors reflecting environmental justice. Environ Health Perspect 2002; 110(2):233-240.
-5555. Elmore RC, Arcury TA. Pesticide exposure beliefs among latino farmworkers in North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry. Am J Ind Med 2001; 40(2):153-160.. It is interesting to note that the majority of studies involving the latter group were undertaken in North America and involved immigrant farm workers, principally Latin Americans2727. Vaughan E. Chronic exposure to an environmental hazard: risk perceptions and self-protective behavior. Health Psychology 1993; 12(1):74-85.,2828. Quandt SA, Arcury TA, Austin CK, Saavedra RM. Farmworker and farmer perceptions of farmworker agricultural chemical exposure in North Carolina. Human Organization 1998; 57(3):359-368.,4646. Levesque DL, Arif AA. Does the perception of psychosocial factors increase the risk of pesticide exposure among seasonal Hispanic farmworkers? Int J Occup Environ Med 2014; 5(2):72-77.,4848. Salazar MK, Napolitano M, Scherer JA, McCauley LA. Hispanic adolescent farmworkers’ perceptions associated with pesticide exposure. West J Nurs Res 2004; 26(2):146-166.,5151. Snipes SA, Thompson B, O’Connor K, Shell-Duncan B, King D, Herrera AP, Navarro B. “Pesticides protect the fruit, but not the people”: Using community-based ethnography to understand farmworker pesticide-exposure risks. Am J Public Health 2009; 99(3):616-621.,5252. Runkle JD, Tovar-Aguilar JA, Economos E, Flocks J, Williams B, Muniz JF, Semple M, McCauley L. Pesticide risk perception and biomarkers of exposure in Florida female farmworkers. J Occup Environ Med 2013; 55(11):1286-1292.,5454. Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Russell GB. Pesticide safety among farmworkers: Perceived risk and perceived control as factors reflecting environmental justice. Environ Health Perspect 2002; 110(2):233-240.,5555. Elmore RC, Arcury TA. Pesticide exposure beliefs among latino farmworkers in North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry. Am J Ind Med 2001; 40(2):153-160.. A number of studies investigate a combination of study populations, either to compare results or describe the particular subjective productions of each group2929. Popper R, Andino K, Bustamante M, Hernandez B, Rodas L. Knowledge and beliefs regarding agricultural pesticides in rural Guatemala. Environmental Management 1996; 20(2):241-248.,5656. Arellano E, Camarena L, Von Glascoe C, Daesslé W. Percepción del riesgo en salud por exposición a mezclas de contaminantes. El caso de los valles agrícolas de Mexicali y San Quintín. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2009; 27(3):291-301.

57. Remoundou K, Brennan M, Sacchettini G, Panzone L, Butler-Ellis MC, Capri E, Charistou A, Chaideftou E, Gerritsen-Ebben MG, Machera K, Spanoghe P, Glass R, Marchis A, Doanngoc K, Hart A, Frewer L J. Perceptions of pesticides exposure risks by operators, workers, residents and bystanders in Greece, Italy and the UK. Sci Total Environ 2015; 505:1082-1092.

58. Ahmed N, Englund JE, Åhman I, Lieberg M, Johansson E. Perception of pesticide use by farmers and neighbors in two periurban areas. Sci Total Environ 2011; 412-413:77-86.

59. Ríos-González A, Jansen K, Sánchez-Pérez H. Pesticide risk perceptions and the differences between farmers and extensionists: towards a knowledge-in-context model. Environ Res 2013; 124:43-53.

60. Barraza D, Jansen K, Van Wendel de Joode B, Wesseling C. Pesticide use in banana and plantain production and risk perception among local actors in Talamanca, Costa Rica. Environ Res 2011; 111(5):708-717.

61. Schoell R, Binder C. System perspectives of experts and farmers regarding the role of livelihood assets in risk perception: results from the structured mental model approach. Risk Anal 2009; 29(2):205-222.

62. Castro MJ, Confalonieri U. Uso de agrotóxicos no Município de Cachoeiras de Macacu (RJ). Cien Saude Colet 2005; 10(2):473-482.

63. Gutiérrez-Strauss A, González Baltazar R, Salazar Estrada J, Soltero Avelar R, Aguilera Velasco M, León Cortés S. Veneno para plagas: una aproximación desde la antropología cognitiva sobre exposición laboral, efectos en salud y calidad de vida de los aplicadores de plaguicidas del sector informal rural. Salud Uninorte 2013; 29(3):501-513.

64. Schwartz N, Von Glascoe C, Torres V, Ramos L, Soria-Delgado C. “Where they (live, work and) spray”: Pesticide exposure, childhood asthma and environmental justice among Mexican-American farmworkers. Health Place 2015; 32:83-92.

65. Brisbois B. Bananas, pesticides and health in southwestern Ecuador: A scalar narrative approach to targeting public health responses. Soc Sci Med 2016; 150:184-191.
-6666. Rao P, Quandt SA, Doran AM, Snively BM, Arcury TA. Pesticides in the homes of farmworkers: Latino mothers’ perceptions of risk to their children’s health. Health Education & Behavior 2007; 34(2):335-353., including farm workers’ families, housewives, health professionals, extensionists, agricultural settlers, urban populations, experts, and officials. Overall, the studies cover a wide range of types of production, from extensive farming to small plot and greenhouse-based intensive agriculture. In short, in general terms, studies involving farmers, farm workers, and a combination of different study populations were predominant.

With respect to research approach, studies can be classified according to the type of research process used: qualitative, quantitative, or mixed6767. Hernández R, Fernández C, Baptista P. Metodología de la investigación. México: McGraw Hill Interamericana; 2006.. Studies were primarily qualitative in nature estudios2828. Quandt SA, Arcury TA, Austin CK, Saavedra RM. Farmworker and farmer perceptions of farmworker agricultural chemical exposure in North Carolina. Human Organization 1998; 57(3):359-368.,3131. Menasche R. Capinar: verbo conjugado no feminino? Notas de pesquisa sobre gênero e percepções de risco na agricultura familiar. Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 2004; 53:25-36.

32. Peres F, Rodrigues KM, da Silva Peixoto Belo MS, Moreira JC, Claudio L. Design of risk communication strategies based on risk perception among farmers exposed to pesticides in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Am J Ind Med 2013; 56(1):77-89.

33. Raksanam B, Taneepanichskul S, Robson MG3, Siriwong W. Health risk behaviors associated with agrochemical exposure among rice farmers in a rural community, Thailand A Community-Based ethnography. Asia Pac J Public Health 2014; 26(6):588-595.

34. Palis FG, Flor RJ, Warburton H, Hossain M. Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety. J Public Health 2006; 28(1):43-48.

35. RecenaI MC, Caldas E. Percepção de risco, atitudes e práticas no uso de agrotóxicos entre agricultores de Culturama, MS. Rev Saude Publica 2008; 42(2):294-301.
-3636. Peres F, Rozemberg B, de Lucca SR. Percepção de riscos no trabalho rural em uma região agrícola do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Cad Saude Publica 2005; 21(6):1836-1844.,3838. Gasparini MF, Freitas CM. Trabalho rural, saúde e ambiente. As narrativas dos produtores de flor frente aos riscos socioambientais. Ambient Soc 2013; 16(3):23-44.,4141. Chisté AMD, Có WLO. Percepção ambiental de uma comunidade pomerana em relação ao uso de agrotóxicos. Naturaleza on line 2003; 1(1):7-11.,4747. Vargas Trejos, Y. Exposición a agroquímicos y creencias asociadas a su uso en la cuenca hidrográfica del Río Morote, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Un estudio de casos. Ciencia & Trabajo 2015; 17(52):54-68.

48. Salazar MK, Napolitano M, Scherer JA, McCauley LA. Hispanic adolescent farmworkers’ perceptions associated with pesticide exposure. West J Nurs Res 2004; 26(2):146-166.

49. Peres F, de Lucca SR, da Ponte LMD, Rodrigues KM, Rozemberg B. Percepção das condições de trabalho em uma tradicional comunidade agrícola em Boa Esperança, Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 2004; 20(4):1059-1068.

50. Fonseca MGU, Peres F, Firmo JOA, Uchôa E. Percepção de risco: maneiras de pensar e agir no manejo de agrotóxicos. Cien Saude Colet 2007; 12(1):39-50.
-5151. Snipes SA, Thompson B, O’Connor K, Shell-Duncan B, King D, Herrera AP, Navarro B. “Pesticides protect the fruit, but not the people”: Using community-based ethnography to understand farmworker pesticide-exposure risks. Am J Public Health 2009; 99(3):616-621.,5555. Elmore RC, Arcury TA. Pesticide exposure beliefs among latino farmworkers in North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry. Am J Ind Med 2001; 40(2):153-160.,5656. Arellano E, Camarena L, Von Glascoe C, Daesslé W. Percepción del riesgo en salud por exposición a mezclas de contaminantes. El caso de los valles agrícolas de Mexicali y San Quintín. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2009; 27(3):291-301.,6060. Barraza D, Jansen K, Van Wendel de Joode B, Wesseling C. Pesticide use in banana and plantain production and risk perception among local actors in Talamanca, Costa Rica. Environ Res 2011; 111(5):708-717.,6363. Gutiérrez-Strauss A, González Baltazar R, Salazar Estrada J, Soltero Avelar R, Aguilera Velasco M, León Cortés S. Veneno para plagas: una aproximación desde la antropología cognitiva sobre exposición laboral, efectos en salud y calidad de vida de los aplicadores de plaguicidas del sector informal rural. Salud Uninorte 2013; 29(3):501-513.

64. Schwartz N, Von Glascoe C, Torres V, Ramos L, Soria-Delgado C. “Where they (live, work and) spray”: Pesticide exposure, childhood asthma and environmental justice among Mexican-American farmworkers. Health Place 2015; 32:83-92.

65. Brisbois B. Bananas, pesticides and health in southwestern Ecuador: A scalar narrative approach to targeting public health responses. Soc Sci Med 2016; 150:184-191.
-6666. Rao P, Quandt SA, Doran AM, Snively BM, Arcury TA. Pesticides in the homes of farmworkers: Latino mothers’ perceptions of risk to their children’s health. Health Education & Behavior 2007; 34(2):335-353., followed by quantitative studies2727. Vaughan E. Chronic exposure to an environmental hazard: risk perceptions and self-protective behavior. Health Psychology 1993; 12(1):74-85.,3030. Polanco Y, Salazar JC, Curbow B. A quantitative analysis of Colombian campesinos use of pesticides: perceived control and confidence in this use. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2014; 32(3):373-382.,3737. Zouhri B, Feliot-Rippeault M, Michel-Guillou E, Weiss K. Representations of pesticides and social practices: the case of French farmers. Environ Sci Pollut Res 2016; 23(1):157-166.,3939. Tucker M, Napier TL. Determinants of perceived agricultural chemical risk in three watersheds in the Midwestern United States. Journal of Rural Studies 2001; 17(2):219-233.,4040. Ntow WJ, Gijzen HJ, Kelderman P, Drechsel P. Farmer perceptions and pesticide use practices in vegetable production in Ghana. Pest Manag Sci 2006; 62(4):356-365.,4242. Isina S, Yildirim I. Fruit-growers’ perceptions on the harmful effects of pesticides and their reflection on practices: The case of Kemalpasa, Turkey. Crop Protection 2007; 26(7):917-922.

43. Cabrera NL, Leckie JO. Pesticide risk communication, risk perception, and self-protective behaviors among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2009; 31(2):258-272.

44. Polanco AG, Riba IM, Angel CT, Quattrocchi P, Alvarez FJ, Solorio FJ, Navarro AJA. Risk perception and chronic exposure to organochlorine pesticides in Maya communities of Mexico. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 2015; 21(7):1960-1979.

45. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.
-4646. Levesque DL, Arif AA. Does the perception of psychosocial factors increase the risk of pesticide exposure among seasonal Hispanic farmworkers? Int J Occup Environ Med 2014; 5(2):72-77.,5454. Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Russell GB. Pesticide safety among farmworkers: Perceived risk and perceived control as factors reflecting environmental justice. Environ Health Perspect 2002; 110(2):233-240.,5757. Remoundou K, Brennan M, Sacchettini G, Panzone L, Butler-Ellis MC, Capri E, Charistou A, Chaideftou E, Gerritsen-Ebben MG, Machera K, Spanoghe P, Glass R, Marchis A, Doanngoc K, Hart A, Frewer L J. Perceptions of pesticides exposure risks by operators, workers, residents and bystanders in Greece, Italy and the UK. Sci Total Environ 2015; 505:1082-1092.,5858. Ahmed N, Englund JE, Åhman I, Lieberg M, Johansson E. Perception of pesticide use by farmers and neighbors in two periurban areas. Sci Total Environ 2011; 412-413:77-86., with mixed methods research accounting for only a small proportion of the total number of studies2929. Popper R, Andino K, Bustamante M, Hernandez B, Rodas L. Knowledge and beliefs regarding agricultural pesticides in rural Guatemala. Environmental Management 1996; 20(2):241-248.,5252. Runkle JD, Tovar-Aguilar JA, Economos E, Flocks J, Williams B, Muniz JF, Semple M, McCauley L. Pesticide risk perception and biomarkers of exposure in Florida female farmworkers. J Occup Environ Med 2013; 55(11):1286-1292.,5353. Damalas CA, Hashemi, SM. Pesticide risk perception and use of personal protective equipment among young and old cotton growers in northern Greece. Agrociencia 2010; 44(3):363-371.,5959. Ríos-González A, Jansen K, Sánchez-Pérez H. Pesticide risk perceptions and the differences between farmers and extensionists: towards a knowledge-in-context model. Environ Res 2013; 124:43-53.,6161. Schoell R, Binder C. System perspectives of experts and farmers regarding the role of livelihood assets in risk perception: results from the structured mental model approach. Risk Anal 2009; 29(2):205-222.,6262. Castro MJ, Confalonieri U. Uso de agrotóxicos no Município de Cachoeiras de Macacu (RJ). Cien Saude Colet 2005; 10(2):473-482.. An analysis of the selected articles by country and research approach shows that studies from core countries used predominantly quantitative approaches, while those from periphery countries tended to adopt qualitative research designs.

Conceptualizations surrounding the subjective production of risk

The findings show that the object of study has been given various names over the two decades of research into the subjective production of exposure to agrochemicals. Some studies provide a precise definition of the term used, while others fail to define the psychosocial category, using different terminologies and paying little attention to conceptual precision. The dominant theme in the literature was perception and social perception of exposure to and/or risks associated with agrochemicals2727. Vaughan E. Chronic exposure to an environmental hazard: risk perceptions and self-protective behavior. Health Psychology 1993; 12(1):74-85.,3131. Menasche R. Capinar: verbo conjugado no feminino? Notas de pesquisa sobre gênero e percepções de risco na agricultura familiar. Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 2004; 53:25-36.,3131. Menasche R. Capinar: verbo conjugado no feminino? Notas de pesquisa sobre gênero e percepções de risco na agricultura familiar. Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 2004; 53:25-36.,3535. RecenaI MC, Caldas E. Percepção de risco, atitudes e práticas no uso de agrotóxicos entre agricultores de Culturama, MS. Rev Saude Publica 2008; 42(2):294-301.,3636. Peres F, Rozemberg B, de Lucca SR. Percepção de riscos no trabalho rural em uma região agrícola do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Cad Saude Publica 2005; 21(6):1836-1844.,3838. Gasparini MF, Freitas CM. Trabalho rural, saúde e ambiente. As narrativas dos produtores de flor frente aos riscos socioambientais. Ambient Soc 2013; 16(3):23-44.

39. Tucker M, Napier TL. Determinants of perceived agricultural chemical risk in three watersheds in the Midwestern United States. Journal of Rural Studies 2001; 17(2):219-233.

40. Ntow WJ, Gijzen HJ, Kelderman P, Drechsel P. Farmer perceptions and pesticide use practices in vegetable production in Ghana. Pest Manag Sci 2006; 62(4):356-365.

41. Chisté AMD, Có WLO. Percepção ambiental de uma comunidade pomerana em relação ao uso de agrotóxicos. Naturaleza on line 2003; 1(1):7-11.

42. Isina S, Yildirim I. Fruit-growers’ perceptions on the harmful effects of pesticides and their reflection on practices: The case of Kemalpasa, Turkey. Crop Protection 2007; 26(7):917-922.

43. Cabrera NL, Leckie JO. Pesticide risk communication, risk perception, and self-protective behaviors among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2009; 31(2):258-272.
-4444. Polanco AG, Riba IM, Angel CT, Quattrocchi P, Alvarez FJ, Solorio FJ, Navarro AJA. Risk perception and chronic exposure to organochlorine pesticides in Maya communities of Mexico. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 2015; 21(7):1960-1979.,4949. Peres F, de Lucca SR, da Ponte LMD, Rodrigues KM, Rozemberg B. Percepção das condições de trabalho em uma tradicional comunidade agrícola em Boa Esperança, Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 2004; 20(4):1059-1068.

50. Fonseca MGU, Peres F, Firmo JOA, Uchôa E. Percepção de risco: maneiras de pensar e agir no manejo de agrotóxicos. Cien Saude Colet 2007; 12(1):39-50.

51. Snipes SA, Thompson B, O’Connor K, Shell-Duncan B, King D, Herrera AP, Navarro B. “Pesticides protect the fruit, but not the people”: Using community-based ethnography to understand farmworker pesticide-exposure risks. Am J Public Health 2009; 99(3):616-621.

52. Runkle JD, Tovar-Aguilar JA, Economos E, Flocks J, Williams B, Muniz JF, Semple M, McCauley L. Pesticide risk perception and biomarkers of exposure in Florida female farmworkers. J Occup Environ Med 2013; 55(11):1286-1292.
-5353. Damalas CA, Hashemi, SM. Pesticide risk perception and use of personal protective equipment among young and old cotton growers in northern Greece. Agrociencia 2010; 44(3):363-371.,5656. Arellano E, Camarena L, Von Glascoe C, Daesslé W. Percepción del riesgo en salud por exposición a mezclas de contaminantes. El caso de los valles agrícolas de Mexicali y San Quintín. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2009; 27(3):291-301.,5858. Ahmed N, Englund JE, Åhman I, Lieberg M, Johansson E. Perception of pesticide use by farmers and neighbors in two periurban areas. Sci Total Environ 2011; 412-413:77-86.

59. Ríos-González A, Jansen K, Sánchez-Pérez H. Pesticide risk perceptions and the differences between farmers and extensionists: towards a knowledge-in-context model. Environ Res 2013; 124:43-53.

60. Barraza D, Jansen K, Van Wendel de Joode B, Wesseling C. Pesticide use in banana and plantain production and risk perception among local actors in Talamanca, Costa Rica. Environ Res 2011; 111(5):708-717.

61. Schoell R, Binder C. System perspectives of experts and farmers regarding the role of livelihood assets in risk perception: results from the structured mental model approach. Risk Anal 2009; 29(2):205-222.
-6262. Castro MJ, Confalonieri U. Uso de agrotóxicos no Município de Cachoeiras de Macacu (RJ). Cien Saude Colet 2005; 10(2):473-482.,6565. Brisbois B. Bananas, pesticides and health in southwestern Ecuador: A scalar narrative approach to targeting public health responses. Soc Sci Med 2016; 150:184-191.,6666. Rao P, Quandt SA, Doran AM, Snively BM, Arcury TA. Pesticides in the homes of farmworkers: Latino mothers’ perceptions of risk to their children’s health. Health Education & Behavior 2007; 34(2):335-353.. Another group of studies addressed beliefs about these chemical substances and human health2828. Quandt SA, Arcury TA, Austin CK, Saavedra RM. Farmworker and farmer perceptions of farmworker agricultural chemical exposure in North Carolina. Human Organization 1998; 57(3):359-368.,2929. Popper R, Andino K, Bustamante M, Hernandez B, Rodas L. Knowledge and beliefs regarding agricultural pesticides in rural Guatemala. Environmental Management 1996; 20(2):241-248.,3333. Raksanam B, Taneepanichskul S, Robson MG3, Siriwong W. Health risk behaviors associated with agrochemical exposure among rice farmers in a rural community, Thailand A Community-Based ethnography. Asia Pac J Public Health 2014; 26(6):588-595.,3434. Palis FG, Flor RJ, Warburton H, Hossain M. Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety. J Public Health 2006; 28(1):43-48.,5151. Snipes SA, Thompson B, O’Connor K, Shell-Duncan B, King D, Herrera AP, Navarro B. “Pesticides protect the fruit, but not the people”: Using community-based ethnography to understand farmworker pesticide-exposure risks. Am J Public Health 2009; 99(3):616-621.,5454. Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Russell GB. Pesticide safety among farmworkers: Perceived risk and perceived control as factors reflecting environmental justice. Environ Health Perspect 2002; 110(2):233-240.,5555. Elmore RC, Arcury TA. Pesticide exposure beliefs among latino farmworkers in North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry. Am J Ind Med 2001; 40(2):153-160., using the Health Belief Model to study this field of problems. Some articles studied both beliefs and perceptions3030. Polanco Y, Salazar JC, Curbow B. A quantitative analysis of Colombian campesinos use of pesticides: perceived control and confidence in this use. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2014; 32(3):373-382.,3333. Raksanam B, Taneepanichskul S, Robson MG3, Siriwong W. Health risk behaviors associated with agrochemical exposure among rice farmers in a rural community, Thailand A Community-Based ethnography. Asia Pac J Public Health 2014; 26(6):588-595., while other isolated works investigated social representations3737. Zouhri B, Feliot-Rippeault M, Michel-Guillou E, Weiss K. Representations of pesticides and social practices: the case of French farmers. Environ Sci Pollut Res 2016; 23(1):157-166., meanings and significations4545. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.,6363. Gutiérrez-Strauss A, González Baltazar R, Salazar Estrada J, Soltero Avelar R, Aguilera Velasco M, León Cortés S. Veneno para plagas: una aproximación desde la antropología cognitiva sobre exposición laboral, efectos en salud y calidad de vida de los aplicadores de plaguicidas del sector informal rural. Salud Uninorte 2013; 29(3):501-513., and perceived psychosocial factors4646. Levesque DL, Arif AA. Does the perception of psychosocial factors increase the risk of pesticide exposure among seasonal Hispanic farmworkers? Int J Occup Environ Med 2014; 5(2):72-77.linked to exposure to or use of agrochemicals.

Precise terms are anchored in theoretical developments in the area and/or studies that provide an empirical framework for the research. Frames of reference used by studies exploring the social perception of risk included the theoretical developments made by M. Douglas2727. Vaughan E. Chronic exposure to an environmental hazard: risk perceptions and self-protective behavior. Health Psychology 1993; 12(1):74-85.,3131. Menasche R. Capinar: verbo conjugado no feminino? Notas de pesquisa sobre gênero e percepções de risco na agricultura familiar. Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 2004; 53:25-36.,3838. Gasparini MF, Freitas CM. Trabalho rural, saúde e ambiente. As narrativas dos produtores de flor frente aos riscos socioambientais. Ambient Soc 2013; 16(3):23-44.,4444. Polanco AG, Riba IM, Angel CT, Quattrocchi P, Alvarez FJ, Solorio FJ, Navarro AJA. Risk perception and chronic exposure to organochlorine pesticides in Maya communities of Mexico. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 2015; 21(7):1960-1979.,5050. Fonseca MGU, Peres F, Firmo JOA, Uchôa E. Percepção de risco: maneiras de pensar e agir no manejo de agrotóxicos. Cien Saude Colet 2007; 12(1):39-50.. Other studies drew on a variety of theories and models related to risk perception: Theory of Social Knowledge3939. Tucker M, Napier TL. Determinants of perceived agricultural chemical risk in three watersheds in the Midwestern United States. Journal of Rural Studies 2001; 17(2):219-233., the social construction of scale6565. Brisbois B. Bananas, pesticides and health in southwestern Ecuador: A scalar narrative approach to targeting public health responses. Soc Sci Med 2016; 150:184-191., Schoell and Binder’s structured mental model approach6161. Schoell R, Binder C. System perspectives of experts and farmers regarding the role of livelihood assets in risk perception: results from the structured mental model approach. Risk Anal 2009; 29(2):205-222., and conceptual developments made by Jansen5959. Ríos-González A, Jansen K, Sánchez-Pérez H. Pesticide risk perceptions and the differences between farmers and extensionists: towards a knowledge-in-context model. Environ Res 2013; 124:43-53.,6060. Barraza D, Jansen K, Van Wendel de Joode B, Wesseling C. Pesticide use in banana and plantain production and risk perception among local actors in Talamanca, Costa Rica. Environ Res 2011; 111(5):708-717., Widemann3636. Peres F, Rozemberg B, de Lucca SR. Percepção de riscos no trabalho rural em uma região agrícola do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Cad Saude Publica 2005; 21(6):1836-1844., and Sjöberg5656. Arellano E, Camarena L, Von Glascoe C, Daesslé W. Percepción del riesgo en salud por exposición a mezclas de contaminantes. El caso de los valles agrícolas de Mexicali y San Quintín. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2009; 27(3):291-301.. The studies investigating beliefs about agrochemicals show a certain degree of homogeneity, with the majority drawing on the Health Belief Model mentioned above3333. Raksanam B, Taneepanichskul S, Robson MG3, Siriwong W. Health risk behaviors associated with agrochemical exposure among rice farmers in a rural community, Thailand A Community-Based ethnography. Asia Pac J Public Health 2014; 26(6):588-595.,3434. Palis FG, Flor RJ, Warburton H, Hossain M. Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety. J Public Health 2006; 28(1):43-48.,5151. Snipes SA, Thompson B, O’Connor K, Shell-Duncan B, King D, Herrera AP, Navarro B. “Pesticides protect the fruit, but not the people”: Using community-based ethnography to understand farmworker pesticide-exposure risks. Am J Public Health 2009; 99(3):616-621.,5454. Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Russell GB. Pesticide safety among farmworkers: Perceived risk and perceived control as factors reflecting environmental justice. Environ Health Perspect 2002; 110(2):233-240.,5555. Elmore RC, Arcury TA. Pesticide exposure beliefs among latino farmworkers in North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry. Am J Ind Med 2001; 40(2):153-160.. Finally, isolated works used the Cultural Consensus Theory6363. Gutiérrez-Strauss A, González Baltazar R, Salazar Estrada J, Soltero Avelar R, Aguilera Velasco M, León Cortés S. Veneno para plagas: una aproximación desde la antropología cognitiva sobre exposición laboral, efectos en salud y calidad de vida de los aplicadores de plaguicidas del sector informal rural. Salud Uninorte 2013; 29(3):501-513., an ecological framework4848. Salazar MK, Napolitano M, Scherer JA, McCauley LA. Hispanic adolescent farmworkers’ perceptions associated with pesticide exposure. West J Nurs Res 2004; 26(2):146-166., and the theory of social representations developed by Serge Moscovici3737. Zouhri B, Feliot-Rippeault M, Michel-Guillou E, Weiss K. Representations of pesticides and social practices: the case of French farmers. Environ Sci Pollut Res 2016; 23(1):157-166..

A number of articles falling within the area of risk perception3030. Polanco Y, Salazar JC, Curbow B. A quantitative analysis of Colombian campesinos use of pesticides: perceived control and confidence in this use. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2014; 32(3):373-382.,3232. Peres F, Rodrigues KM, da Silva Peixoto Belo MS, Moreira JC, Claudio L. Design of risk communication strategies based on risk perception among farmers exposed to pesticides in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Am J Ind Med 2013; 56(1):77-89.,3535. RecenaI MC, Caldas E. Percepção de risco, atitudes e práticas no uso de agrotóxicos entre agricultores de Culturama, MS. Rev Saude Publica 2008; 42(2):294-301.,4141. Chisté AMD, Có WLO. Percepção ambiental de uma comunidade pomerana em relação ao uso de agrotóxicos. Naturaleza on line 2003; 1(1):7-11.,4343. Cabrera NL, Leckie JO. Pesticide risk communication, risk perception, and self-protective behaviors among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2009; 31(2):258-272.,4747. Vargas Trejos, Y. Exposición a agroquímicos y creencias asociadas a su uso en la cuenca hidrográfica del Río Morote, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Un estudio de casos. Ciencia & Trabajo 2015; 17(52):54-68.,5858. Ahmed N, Englund JE, Åhman I, Lieberg M, Johansson E. Perception of pesticide use by farmers and neighbors in two periurban areas. Sci Total Environ 2011; 412-413:77-86.,6262. Castro MJ, Confalonieri U. Uso de agrotóxicos no Município de Cachoeiras de Macacu (RJ). Cien Saude Colet 2005; 10(2):473-482.,6565. Brisbois B. Bananas, pesticides and health in southwestern Ecuador: A scalar narrative approach to targeting public health responses. Soc Sci Med 2016; 150:184-191.,6666. Rao P, Quandt SA, Doran AM, Snively BM, Arcury TA. Pesticides in the homes of farmworkers: Latino mothers’ perceptions of risk to their children’s health. Health Education & Behavior 2007; 34(2):335-353. are based on empirical studies and do not present a theoretical conceptualization of the conceptual category they use. Notable studies in this respect include work conducted by the National School of Public Health at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Río de Janeiro, Brazil, where F. Peres and other academics have developed a specific line of research focusing on exposure to agrochemicals3232. Peres F, Rodrigues KM, da Silva Peixoto Belo MS, Moreira JC, Claudio L. Design of risk communication strategies based on risk perception among farmers exposed to pesticides in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Am J Ind Med 2013; 56(1):77-89.,3535. RecenaI MC, Caldas E. Percepção de risco, atitudes e práticas no uso de agrotóxicos entre agricultores de Culturama, MS. Rev Saude Publica 2008; 42(2):294-301.,3636. Peres F, Rozemberg B, de Lucca SR. Percepção de riscos no trabalho rural em uma região agrícola do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Cad Saude Publica 2005; 21(6):1836-1844.,4747. Vargas Trejos, Y. Exposición a agroquímicos y creencias asociadas a su uso en la cuenca hidrográfica del Río Morote, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Un estudio de casos. Ciencia & Trabajo 2015; 17(52):54-68.,5050. Fonseca MGU, Peres F, Firmo JOA, Uchôa E. Percepção de risco: maneiras de pensar e agir no manejo de agrotóxicos. Cien Saude Colet 2007; 12(1):39-50.. In the United States, a team headed by T. Arcury and S. Quandt at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina has developed a number of studies in this area that have served as a point of reference for other investigations2828. Quandt SA, Arcury TA, Austin CK, Saavedra RM. Farmworker and farmer perceptions of farmworker agricultural chemical exposure in North Carolina. Human Organization 1998; 57(3):359-368.,3030. Polanco Y, Salazar JC, Curbow B. A quantitative analysis of Colombian campesinos use of pesticides: perceived control and confidence in this use. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2014; 32(3):373-382.,5454. Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Russell GB. Pesticide safety among farmworkers: Perceived risk and perceived control as factors reflecting environmental justice. Environ Health Perspect 2002; 110(2):233-240.,5555. Elmore RC, Arcury TA. Pesticide exposure beliefs among latino farmworkers in North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry. Am J Ind Med 2001; 40(2):153-160.,6666. Rao P, Quandt SA, Doran AM, Snively BM, Arcury TA. Pesticides in the homes of farmworkers: Latino mothers’ perceptions of risk to their children’s health. Health Education & Behavior 2007; 34(2):335-353.. On a smaller scale, but with a relatively significant presence in Central America, the Technology and Agrarian Development Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands has developed a series of joint studies with research teams from Mexico and Costa Rica5959. Ríos-González A, Jansen K, Sánchez-Pérez H. Pesticide risk perceptions and the differences between farmers and extensionists: towards a knowledge-in-context model. Environ Res 2013; 124:43-53.,6060. Barraza D, Jansen K, Van Wendel de Joode B, Wesseling C. Pesticide use in banana and plantain production and risk perception among local actors in Talamanca, Costa Rica. Environ Res 2011; 111(5):708-717..

Finally, as mentioned above, another group of studies neither conceptualize the conceptual category used to refer to the subjective, nor make empirical references that clearly define the object of study: perceived social factors, myths, perceived causality, meanings, risk perception, significations3434. Palis FG, Flor RJ, Warburton H, Hossain M. Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety. J Public Health 2006; 28(1):43-48.,4040. Ntow WJ, Gijzen HJ, Kelderman P, Drechsel P. Farmer perceptions and pesticide use practices in vegetable production in Ghana. Pest Manag Sci 2006; 62(4):356-365.,4242. Isina S, Yildirim I. Fruit-growers’ perceptions on the harmful effects of pesticides and their reflection on practices: The case of Kemalpasa, Turkey. Crop Protection 2007; 26(7):917-922.,4545. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.,4646. Levesque DL, Arif AA. Does the perception of psychosocial factors increase the risk of pesticide exposure among seasonal Hispanic farmworkers? Int J Occup Environ Med 2014; 5(2):72-77.,5353. Damalas CA, Hashemi, SM. Pesticide risk perception and use of personal protective equipment among young and old cotton growers in northern Greece. Agrociencia 2010; 44(3):363-371.,5757. Remoundou K, Brennan M, Sacchettini G, Panzone L, Butler-Ellis MC, Capri E, Charistou A, Chaideftou E, Gerritsen-Ebben MG, Machera K, Spanoghe P, Glass R, Marchis A, Doanngoc K, Hart A, Frewer L J. Perceptions of pesticides exposure risks by operators, workers, residents and bystanders in Greece, Italy and the UK. Sci Total Environ 2015; 505:1082-1092.,6464. Schwartz N, Von Glascoe C, Torres V, Ramos L, Soria-Delgado C. “Where they (live, work and) spray”: Pesticide exposure, childhood asthma and environmental justice among Mexican-American farmworkers. Health Place 2015; 32:83-92.. These are neither pioneering studies, nor do they resort to grounded theory, but rather depart from an understanding of the theoretical category in question, despite the range of approaches that converge in this field of problems. In certain cases, this lack of conceptual clarity was due to the fact that perceptions and meanings associated with agrochemicals were not the main focus of the study3434. Palis FG, Flor RJ, Warburton H, Hossain M. Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety. J Public Health 2006; 28(1):43-48.,3838. Gasparini MF, Freitas CM. Trabalho rural, saúde e ambiente. As narrativas dos produtores de flor frente aos riscos socioambientais. Ambient Soc 2013; 16(3):23-44.,4040. Ntow WJ, Gijzen HJ, Kelderman P, Drechsel P. Farmer perceptions and pesticide use practices in vegetable production in Ghana. Pest Manag Sci 2006; 62(4):356-365.. Although not a dominant trend in the selected articles, it is important to emphasize these articles given that they account for a significant portion of the total.

In short and bearing in mind the multiple conceptual frameworks adopted by the studies, this review shows the main frames of reference and certain academic groups who conduct research in this area. The most notable frames of references were the social and cultural construction of risk6868. Elliot D. Book reviews. Risk and Culture: An Essay on the Selection of Technical and Environmental Dangers. The Yale Law Journal 1983; 92:888-899., developed by M. Douglas, and the Health Belief Model, a behavioral approach to understanding people’s health perceptions6969. Morales F. Introducción a la Psicología de la Salud. Buenos Aires: Nuevos Tiempos; 2016.. The findings also show that several research teams have been working on this theme throughout the world for around ten years, with varying degrees of connection. The discussion of the findings below analyzes the conditioning factors influencing these processes of knowledge production and the challenges faced by social research in this field of study.

Dimensions of understanding-explaining the phenomenon under study

As mentioned above, exposure to agrochemicals may be analyzed from three dimensions that enable the problem to be understood at different levels of complexity. These dimensions refer to the singular aspects of lifestyles, particular collective ways of life and general aspects of economic-production logic2121. Breilh J. De la vigilancia convencional al monitoreo participativo. Cien Saude Colet 2003; 8(4):937-951.. There is a certain degree of parity between the studies that deal solely with the lifestyles of subjects and groups2828. Quandt SA, Arcury TA, Austin CK, Saavedra RM. Farmworker and farmer perceptions of farmworker agricultural chemical exposure in North Carolina. Human Organization 1998; 57(3):359-368.

29. Popper R, Andino K, Bustamante M, Hernandez B, Rodas L. Knowledge and beliefs regarding agricultural pesticides in rural Guatemala. Environmental Management 1996; 20(2):241-248.
-3030. Polanco Y, Salazar JC, Curbow B. A quantitative analysis of Colombian campesinos use of pesticides: perceived control and confidence in this use. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2014; 32(3):373-382.,3333. Raksanam B, Taneepanichskul S, Robson MG3, Siriwong W. Health risk behaviors associated with agrochemical exposure among rice farmers in a rural community, Thailand A Community-Based ethnography. Asia Pac J Public Health 2014; 26(6):588-595.,3434. Palis FG, Flor RJ, Warburton H, Hossain M. Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety. J Public Health 2006; 28(1):43-48.,3939. Tucker M, Napier TL. Determinants of perceived agricultural chemical risk in three watersheds in the Midwestern United States. Journal of Rural Studies 2001; 17(2):219-233.

40. Ntow WJ, Gijzen HJ, Kelderman P, Drechsel P. Farmer perceptions and pesticide use practices in vegetable production in Ghana. Pest Manag Sci 2006; 62(4):356-365.
-4141. Chisté AMD, Có WLO. Percepção ambiental de uma comunidade pomerana em relação ao uso de agrotóxicos. Naturaleza on line 2003; 1(1):7-11.,4545. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.,5050. Fonseca MGU, Peres F, Firmo JOA, Uchôa E. Percepção de risco: maneiras de pensar e agir no manejo de agrotóxicos. Cien Saude Colet 2007; 12(1):39-50.,5555. Elmore RC, Arcury TA. Pesticide exposure beliefs among latino farmworkers in North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry. Am J Ind Med 2001; 40(2):153-160.,5757. Remoundou K, Brennan M, Sacchettini G, Panzone L, Butler-Ellis MC, Capri E, Charistou A, Chaideftou E, Gerritsen-Ebben MG, Machera K, Spanoghe P, Glass R, Marchis A, Doanngoc K, Hart A, Frewer L J. Perceptions of pesticides exposure risks by operators, workers, residents and bystanders in Greece, Italy and the UK. Sci Total Environ 2015; 505:1082-1092.,6262. Castro MJ, Confalonieri U. Uso de agrotóxicos no Município de Cachoeiras de Macacu (RJ). Cien Saude Colet 2005; 10(2):473-482.,6363. Gutiérrez-Strauss A, González Baltazar R, Salazar Estrada J, Soltero Avelar R, Aguilera Velasco M, León Cortés S. Veneno para plagas: una aproximación desde la antropología cognitiva sobre exposición laboral, efectos en salud y calidad de vida de los aplicadores de plaguicidas del sector informal rural. Salud Uninorte 2013; 29(3):501-513.,6666. Rao P, Quandt SA, Doran AM, Snively BM, Arcury TA. Pesticides in the homes of farmworkers: Latino mothers’ perceptions of risk to their children’s health. Health Education & Behavior 2007; 34(2):335-353. and those that address one or more aspects of collective ways of life2727. Vaughan E. Chronic exposure to an environmental hazard: risk perceptions and self-protective behavior. Health Psychology 1993; 12(1):74-85.,3131. Menasche R. Capinar: verbo conjugado no feminino? Notas de pesquisa sobre gênero e percepções de risco na agricultura familiar. Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 2004; 53:25-36.,3232. Peres F, Rodrigues KM, da Silva Peixoto Belo MS, Moreira JC, Claudio L. Design of risk communication strategies based on risk perception among farmers exposed to pesticides in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Am J Ind Med 2013; 56(1):77-89.,3535. RecenaI MC, Caldas E. Percepção de risco, atitudes e práticas no uso de agrotóxicos entre agricultores de Culturama, MS. Rev Saude Publica 2008; 42(2):294-301.,3737. Zouhri B, Feliot-Rippeault M, Michel-Guillou E, Weiss K. Representations of pesticides and social practices: the case of French farmers. Environ Sci Pollut Res 2016; 23(1):157-166.,4343. Cabrera NL, Leckie JO. Pesticide risk communication, risk perception, and self-protective behaviors among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2009; 31(2):258-272.

44. Polanco AG, Riba IM, Angel CT, Quattrocchi P, Alvarez FJ, Solorio FJ, Navarro AJA. Risk perception and chronic exposure to organochlorine pesticides in Maya communities of Mexico. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 2015; 21(7):1960-1979.

45. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.
-4646. Levesque DL, Arif AA. Does the perception of psychosocial factors increase the risk of pesticide exposure among seasonal Hispanic farmworkers? Int J Occup Environ Med 2014; 5(2):72-77.,5151. Snipes SA, Thompson B, O’Connor K, Shell-Duncan B, King D, Herrera AP, Navarro B. “Pesticides protect the fruit, but not the people”: Using community-based ethnography to understand farmworker pesticide-exposure risks. Am J Public Health 2009; 99(3):616-621.

52. Runkle JD, Tovar-Aguilar JA, Economos E, Flocks J, Williams B, Muniz JF, Semple M, McCauley L. Pesticide risk perception and biomarkers of exposure in Florida female farmworkers. J Occup Environ Med 2013; 55(11):1286-1292.

53. Damalas CA, Hashemi, SM. Pesticide risk perception and use of personal protective equipment among young and old cotton growers in northern Greece. Agrociencia 2010; 44(3):363-371.
-5454. Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Russell GB. Pesticide safety among farmworkers: Perceived risk and perceived control as factors reflecting environmental justice. Environ Health Perspect 2002; 110(2):233-240.,5656. Arellano E, Camarena L, Von Glascoe C, Daesslé W. Percepción del riesgo en salud por exposición a mezclas de contaminantes. El caso de los valles agrícolas de Mexicali y San Quintín. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2009; 27(3):291-301.,5858. Ahmed N, Englund JE, Åhman I, Lieberg M, Johansson E. Perception of pesticide use by farmers and neighbors in two periurban areas. Sci Total Environ 2011; 412-413:77-86.,5959. Ríos-González A, Jansen K, Sánchez-Pérez H. Pesticide risk perceptions and the differences between farmers and extensionists: towards a knowledge-in-context model. Environ Res 2013; 124:43-53.,6161. Schoell R, Binder C. System perspectives of experts and farmers regarding the role of livelihood assets in risk perception: results from the structured mental model approach. Risk Anal 2009; 29(2):205-222.. Those studies that include all three analysis dimensions account for a smaller proportion than the first two3636. Peres F, Rozemberg B, de Lucca SR. Percepção de riscos no trabalho rural em uma região agrícola do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Cad Saude Publica 2005; 21(6):1836-1844.,3838. Gasparini MF, Freitas CM. Trabalho rural, saúde e ambiente. As narrativas dos produtores de flor frente aos riscos socioambientais. Ambient Soc 2013; 16(3):23-44.,4545. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.,4747. Vargas Trejos, Y. Exposición a agroquímicos y creencias asociadas a su uso en la cuenca hidrográfica del Río Morote, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Un estudio de casos. Ciencia & Trabajo 2015; 17(52):54-68.

48. Salazar MK, Napolitano M, Scherer JA, McCauley LA. Hispanic adolescent farmworkers’ perceptions associated with pesticide exposure. West J Nurs Res 2004; 26(2):146-166.
-4949. Peres F, de Lucca SR, da Ponte LMD, Rodrigues KM, Rozemberg B. Percepção das condições de trabalho em uma tradicional comunidade agrícola em Boa Esperança, Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 2004; 20(4):1059-1068.,6060. Barraza D, Jansen K, Van Wendel de Joode B, Wesseling C. Pesticide use in banana and plantain production and risk perception among local actors in Talamanca, Costa Rica. Environ Res 2011; 111(5):708-717.,6161. Schoell R, Binder C. System perspectives of experts and farmers regarding the role of livelihood assets in risk perception: results from the structured mental model approach. Risk Anal 2009; 29(2):205-222..

The studies that explain perceptions, beliefs or representations solely through lifestyles are fundamentally descriptive and are limited to the specificities of the individuals, groups and communities studied; while those exploring ways of life address multiple variables and categories that allow certain recurrences to be identified. The studies that refer to collective ways of life tend to describe between one and three conditioning factors influencing the production of subjects regarding agrochemicals. The most mentioned factors include the relation between subjective production and education of the study groups, both in terms of level of education and training in the use of agrochemicals3232. Peres F, Rodrigues KM, da Silva Peixoto Belo MS, Moreira JC, Claudio L. Design of risk communication strategies based on risk perception among farmers exposed to pesticides in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Am J Ind Med 2013; 56(1):77-89.,4444. Polanco AG, Riba IM, Angel CT, Quattrocchi P, Alvarez FJ, Solorio FJ, Navarro AJA. Risk perception and chronic exposure to organochlorine pesticides in Maya communities of Mexico. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 2015; 21(7):1960-1979.,5454. Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Russell GB. Pesticide safety among farmworkers: Perceived risk and perceived control as factors reflecting environmental justice. Environ Health Perspect 2002; 110(2):233-240.,5656. Arellano E, Camarena L, Von Glascoe C, Daesslé W. Percepción del riesgo en salud por exposición a mezclas de contaminantes. El caso de los valles agrícolas de Mexicali y San Quintín. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2009; 27(3):291-301.,5858. Ahmed N, Englund JE, Åhman I, Lieberg M, Johansson E. Perception of pesticide use by farmers and neighbors in two periurban areas. Sci Total Environ 2011; 412-413:77-86.,5959. Ríos-González A, Jansen K, Sánchez-Pérez H. Pesticide risk perceptions and the differences between farmers and extensionists: towards a knowledge-in-context model. Environ Res 2013; 124:43-53.,6161. Schoell R, Binder C. System perspectives of experts and farmers regarding the role of livelihood assets in risk perception: results from the structured mental model approach. Risk Anal 2009; 29(2):205-222.. Other collective conditioning factors include the labor process and organization of work4343. Cabrera NL, Leckie JO. Pesticide risk communication, risk perception, and self-protective behaviors among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2009; 31(2):258-272.,4646. Levesque DL, Arif AA. Does the perception of psychosocial factors increase the risk of pesticide exposure among seasonal Hispanic farmworkers? Int J Occup Environ Med 2014; 5(2):72-77.,5050. Fonseca MGU, Peres F, Firmo JOA, Uchôa E. Percepção de risco: maneiras de pensar e agir no manejo de agrotóxicos. Cien Saude Colet 2007; 12(1):39-50.,5151. Snipes SA, Thompson B, O’Connor K, Shell-Duncan B, King D, Herrera AP, Navarro B. “Pesticides protect the fruit, but not the people”: Using community-based ethnography to understand farmworker pesticide-exposure risks. Am J Public Health 2009; 99(3):616-621., followed by geneder3131. Menasche R. Capinar: verbo conjugado no feminino? Notas de pesquisa sobre gênero e percepções de risco na agricultura familiar. Cuadernos de Desarrollo Rural 2004; 53:25-36.,4343. Cabrera NL, Leckie JO. Pesticide risk communication, risk perception, and self-protective behaviors among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2009; 31(2):258-272.,5858. Ahmed N, Englund JE, Åhman I, Lieberg M, Johansson E. Perception of pesticide use by farmers and neighbors in two periurban areas. Sci Total Environ 2011; 412-413:77-86., ethnic background2727. Vaughan E. Chronic exposure to an environmental hazard: risk perceptions and self-protective behavior. Health Psychology 1993; 12(1):74-85.,4343. Cabrera NL, Leckie JO. Pesticide risk communication, risk perception, and self-protective behaviors among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2009; 31(2):258-272.,5252. Runkle JD, Tovar-Aguilar JA, Economos E, Flocks J, Williams B, Muniz JF, Semple M, McCauley L. Pesticide risk perception and biomarkers of exposure in Florida female farmworkers. J Occup Environ Med 2013; 55(11):1286-1292., the direct production context3535. RecenaI MC, Caldas E. Percepção de risco, atitudes e práticas no uso de agrotóxicos entre agricultores de Culturama, MS. Rev Saude Publica 2008; 42(2):294-301.,3737. Zouhri B, Feliot-Rippeault M, Michel-Guillou E, Weiss K. Representations of pesticides and social practices: the case of French farmers. Environ Sci Pollut Res 2016; 23(1):157-166.,6161. Schoell R, Binder C. System perspectives of experts and farmers regarding the role of livelihood assets in risk perception: results from the structured mental model approach. Risk Anal 2009; 29(2):205-222., age5353. Damalas CA, Hashemi, SM. Pesticide risk perception and use of personal protective equipment among young and old cotton growers in northern Greece. Agrociencia 2010; 44(3):363-371.,5858. Ahmed N, Englund JE, Åhman I, Lieberg M, Johansson E. Perception of pesticide use by farmers and neighbors in two periurban areas. Sci Total Environ 2011; 412-413:77-86., and subsistence needs5050. Fonseca MGU, Peres F, Firmo JOA, Uchôa E. Percepção de risco: maneiras de pensar e agir no manejo de agrotóxicos. Cien Saude Colet 2007; 12(1):39-50..

Finally, the production of knowledge that makes up the three analysis dimensions encompasses different processes ranging from individual or collective lifestyles to the economic, social, and political logic involved in the use of agrochemicals. In this respect, one of the studies links past histories of poisoning of subjects with the location of housing on farms and the environmental toxicity of the chemicals used4747. Vargas Trejos, Y. Exposición a agroquímicos y creencias asociadas a su uso en la cuenca hidrográfica del Río Morote, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Un estudio de casos. Ciencia & Trabajo 2015; 17(52):54-68., while another associates the process of blaming workers with collective defensive strategies and the role played by the agrochemical industry in these processes3636. Peres F, Rozemberg B, de Lucca SR. Percepção de riscos no trabalho rural em uma região agrícola do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Cad Saude Publica 2005; 21(6):1836-1844.. Gasparini and Freitas3838. Gasparini MF, Freitas CM. Trabalho rural, saúde e ambiente. As narrativas dos produtores de flor frente aos riscos socioambientais. Ambient Soc 2013; 16(3):23-44. articulate the pragmatic use of these products with gender constructions and policies that promote technology-dependent farming. Although this type of study was not predominant, these studies show that it is possible to study this topic using an approach that integrates dimensions and levels.

The various studies that consider lifestyles and collective ways of life differ in terms of their origin, methodology, and study population. However, those that encompass all three analysis dimensions have two common features: a) they were conducted predominantly in Latin America (except for two studies undertaken in Canada6565. Brisbois B. Bananas, pesticides and health in southwestern Ecuador: A scalar narrative approach to targeting public health responses. Soc Sci Med 2016; 150:184-191. and the United States4848. Salazar MK, Napolitano M, Scherer JA, McCauley LA. Hispanic adolescent farmworkers’ perceptions associated with pesticide exposure. West J Nurs Res 2004; 26(2):146-166.); and b) they adopt a qualitative research approach.

Chart 1 presents a descriptive summary of the key features of the selected articles.

Discussion

It is interesting to focus first of all on those studies that only describe subjective production and its association with the singular lifestyles of subjects2828. Quandt SA, Arcury TA, Austin CK, Saavedra RM. Farmworker and farmer perceptions of farmworker agricultural chemical exposure in North Carolina. Human Organization 1998; 57(3):359-368.

29. Popper R, Andino K, Bustamante M, Hernandez B, Rodas L. Knowledge and beliefs regarding agricultural pesticides in rural Guatemala. Environmental Management 1996; 20(2):241-248.
-3030. Polanco Y, Salazar JC, Curbow B. A quantitative analysis of Colombian campesinos use of pesticides: perceived control and confidence in this use. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2014; 32(3):373-382.,3333. Raksanam B, Taneepanichskul S, Robson MG3, Siriwong W. Health risk behaviors associated with agrochemical exposure among rice farmers in a rural community, Thailand A Community-Based ethnography. Asia Pac J Public Health 2014; 26(6):588-595.,3434. Palis FG, Flor RJ, Warburton H, Hossain M. Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety. J Public Health 2006; 28(1):43-48.,3939. Tucker M, Napier TL. Determinants of perceived agricultural chemical risk in three watersheds in the Midwestern United States. Journal of Rural Studies 2001; 17(2):219-233.

40. Ntow WJ, Gijzen HJ, Kelderman P, Drechsel P. Farmer perceptions and pesticide use practices in vegetable production in Ghana. Pest Manag Sci 2006; 62(4):356-365.
-4141. Chisté AMD, Có WLO. Percepção ambiental de uma comunidade pomerana em relação ao uso de agrotóxicos. Naturaleza on line 2003; 1(1):7-11.,4545. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.,5050. Fonseca MGU, Peres F, Firmo JOA, Uchôa E. Percepção de risco: maneiras de pensar e agir no manejo de agrotóxicos. Cien Saude Colet 2007; 12(1):39-50.,5555. Elmore RC, Arcury TA. Pesticide exposure beliefs among latino farmworkers in North Carolina’s Christmas tree industry. Am J Ind Med 2001; 40(2):153-160.,5757. Remoundou K, Brennan M, Sacchettini G, Panzone L, Butler-Ellis MC, Capri E, Charistou A, Chaideftou E, Gerritsen-Ebben MG, Machera K, Spanoghe P, Glass R, Marchis A, Doanngoc K, Hart A, Frewer L J. Perceptions of pesticides exposure risks by operators, workers, residents and bystanders in Greece, Italy and the UK. Sci Total Environ 2015; 505:1082-1092.,6262. Castro MJ, Confalonieri U. Uso de agrotóxicos no Município de Cachoeiras de Macacu (RJ). Cien Saude Colet 2005; 10(2):473-482.,6666. Rao P, Quandt SA, Doran AM, Snively BM, Arcury TA. Pesticides in the homes of farmworkers: Latino mothers’ perceptions of risk to their children’s health. Health Education & Behavior 2007; 34(2):335-353., without critically interpreting these processes and their multiple conditioning factors. This element observed in the articles seems to correspond to the contemplation-transformation contradiction7070. Marx C. La ideología alemana. Barcelona: Grijalbo; 1974., that permeates scientific discourses and research practices in different ways. This contradiction demonstrates the role of science as a primary productive force in the reproduction of the instituted system and/or its functionality for the transformation of situations and contexts7171. Borón A, Amadeo J, González S, compiladores. La teoría marxista hoy - Problemas y perspectivas. Buenos Aires: CLACSO; 2006.. For highly socially sensitive topics such as agricultural production and the use of agrochemicals, the difference between contemplate or interpret in a critical sense creates abysmal gaps in knowledge production. This is a concern not only due to the effect of this knowledge production on the preservation of the health of groups and communities, but also because it is essential to gain a clear insight into this issue to effectively tackle the negative effects of agrochemicals. The articles that embrace the different dimensions of understanding-explaining the problem3636. Peres F, Rozemberg B, de Lucca SR. Percepção de riscos no trabalho rural em uma região agrícola do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil: agrotóxicos, saúde e ambiente. Cad Saude Publica 2005; 21(6):1836-1844.,3838. Gasparini MF, Freitas CM. Trabalho rural, saúde e ambiente. As narrativas dos produtores de flor frente aos riscos socioambientais. Ambient Soc 2013; 16(3):23-44.,4545. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.,4747. Vargas Trejos, Y. Exposición a agroquímicos y creencias asociadas a su uso en la cuenca hidrográfica del Río Morote, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Un estudio de casos. Ciencia & Trabajo 2015; 17(52):54-68.

48. Salazar MK, Napolitano M, Scherer JA, McCauley LA. Hispanic adolescent farmworkers’ perceptions associated with pesticide exposure. West J Nurs Res 2004; 26(2):146-166.
-4949. Peres F, de Lucca SR, da Ponte LMD, Rodrigues KM, Rozemberg B. Percepção das condições de trabalho em uma tradicional comunidade agrícola em Boa Esperança, Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 2004; 20(4):1059-1068.,6060. Barraza D, Jansen K, Van Wendel de Joode B, Wesseling C. Pesticide use in banana and plantain production and risk perception among local actors in Talamanca, Costa Rica. Environ Res 2011; 111(5):708-717.,6161. Schoell R, Binder C. System perspectives of experts and farmers regarding the role of livelihood assets in risk perception: results from the structured mental model approach. Risk Anal 2009; 29(2):205-222. allow the implementation of preventive practices that address the singular aspects of lifestyles, particular collective ways of life, and general aspects of the dominant production system to be considered necessary2121. Breilh J. De la vigilancia convencional al monitoreo participativo. Cien Saude Colet 2003; 8(4):937-951..

A second element that warrants reflection is the imprecise way in which the articles conceptualize the subjective, either because they allude to the conceptual category through previous empirical studies3030. Polanco Y, Salazar JC, Curbow B. A quantitative analysis of Colombian campesinos use of pesticides: perceived control and confidence in this use. Rev. Fac. Nac. Salud Pública 2014; 32(3):373-382.,3232. Peres F, Rodrigues KM, da Silva Peixoto Belo MS, Moreira JC, Claudio L. Design of risk communication strategies based on risk perception among farmers exposed to pesticides in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Am J Ind Med 2013; 56(1):77-89.,3535. RecenaI MC, Caldas E. Percepção de risco, atitudes e práticas no uso de agrotóxicos entre agricultores de Culturama, MS. Rev Saude Publica 2008; 42(2):294-301.,4141. Chisté AMD, Có WLO. Percepção ambiental de uma comunidade pomerana em relação ao uso de agrotóxicos. Naturaleza on line 2003; 1(1):7-11.,4343. Cabrera NL, Leckie JO. Pesticide risk communication, risk perception, and self-protective behaviors among farmworkers in California’s Salinas Valley. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 2009; 31(2):258-272.,4747. Vargas Trejos, Y. Exposición a agroquímicos y creencias asociadas a su uso en la cuenca hidrográfica del Río Morote, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Un estudio de casos. Ciencia & Trabajo 2015; 17(52):54-68.,5858. Ahmed N, Englund JE, Åhman I, Lieberg M, Johansson E. Perception of pesticide use by farmers and neighbors in two periurban areas. Sci Total Environ 2011; 412-413:77-86.,6262. Castro MJ, Confalonieri U. Uso de agrotóxicos no Município de Cachoeiras de Macacu (RJ). Cien Saude Colet 2005; 10(2):473-482.,6565. Brisbois B. Bananas, pesticides and health in southwestern Ecuador: A scalar narrative approach to targeting public health responses. Soc Sci Med 2016; 150:184-191.,6666. Rao P, Quandt SA, Doran AM, Snively BM, Arcury TA. Pesticides in the homes of farmworkers: Latino mothers’ perceptions of risk to their children’s health. Health Education & Behavior 2007; 34(2):335-353., or due to the complete absence of a theoretical definition3434. Palis FG, Flor RJ, Warburton H, Hossain M. Our farmers at risk: behaviour and belief system in pesticide safety. J Public Health 2006; 28(1):43-48.,4040. Ntow WJ, Gijzen HJ, Kelderman P, Drechsel P. Farmer perceptions and pesticide use practices in vegetable production in Ghana. Pest Manag Sci 2006; 62(4):356-365.,4242. Isina S, Yildirim I. Fruit-growers’ perceptions on the harmful effects of pesticides and their reflection on practices: The case of Kemalpasa, Turkey. Crop Protection 2007; 26(7):917-922.,4545. Gonçalves GMD, Gurgel IGD, Costa AM, de Almeida LR, de Lima TFP, Silva E. Uso de agrotóxicos e a relação com a saúde na etnia Xikuru do Oroubá, Pernambuco, Brasil. Saúde Soc 2012; 21(4):1001-1012.,4646. Levesque DL, Arif AA. Does the perception of psychosocial factors increase the risk of pesticide exposure among seasonal Hispanic farmworkers? Int J Occup Environ Med 2014; 5(2):72-77.,5353. Damalas CA, Hashemi, SM. Pesticide risk perception and use of personal protective equipment among young and old cotton growers in northern Greece. Agrociencia 2010; 44(3):363-371.,5757. Remoundou K, Brennan M, Sacchettini G, Panzone L, Butler-Ellis MC, Capri E, Charistou A, Chaideftou E, Gerritsen-Ebben MG, Machera K, Spanoghe P, Glass R, Marchis A, Doanngoc K, Hart A, Frewer L J. Perceptions of pesticides exposure risks by operators, workers, residents and bystanders in Greece, Italy and the UK. Sci Total Environ 2015; 505:1082-1092.,6464. Schwartz N, Von Glascoe C, Torres V, Ramos L, Soria-Delgado C. “Where they (live, work and) spray”: Pesticide exposure, childhood asthma and environmental justice among Mexican-American farmworkers. Health Place 2015; 32:83-92.. In this respect, a positivist tendency can be observed in the articles, in as much as they address social and subjective elements as if they were natural, essential, and easily objectifiable phenomena1111. Minayo MCS. La artesanía de la investigación cualitativa. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2013.. If we consider the notion of ontological dispute outlined in the introduction1010. Samaja J. Epistemología de la salud. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2009., this positivist tendency threatens, to a certain extent, the advance of critical and holistic theories in the sphere of public health and the complexities entailed in all aspects of the production of subjectivity. By reducing the subjective to a natural fact, the collective and historical elements of the creations of subjects are denied1313. Fernández A. Las lógicas colectivas. Buenos Aires: Biblos; 2007.,1616. Franco TB, Merhy, EE. El reconocimiento de la producción subjetiva del cuidado. Salud Colectiva 2011; 7(1):9-20. and therefore the conditions of production and multiple levels and dimensions that make up the subjective fail to be taken into account. The theoretical devices adopted shed light on and enunciate certain things, but fail to capture others7272. Deleuze G, Glucksmann A, Frank M, Balbier E, compiladores. Michel Foucault, filósofo. Barcelona: Gedisa; 1990., meaning that findings tend to be partial or fail to explain the issues involved in the subjective production of exposure to agrochemicals in their entirety.

A final element of the review that requires problematization is the exponential growth in the publication of studies in the first decade of the 21st century and the concentration of studies in the United States and Brazil. In this respect, Minayo7373. Minayo MCS. Las múltiples razones de la practica teórica. En: Spinelli H, compilador. Salud Colectiva: Cultura, instituciones y subjetividad; epidemiología, gestión y política. Buenos Aires: Lugar Editorial; 2008. p. 279-287. asserts that economic and social transformations affect both internal processes within science and the conditions for its development. The externalities of science, primarily changes in production and the world of work, influence ways of producing knowledge and the institutional conditions under which it is produced. Thus, the advance of agribusiness as a production model22. Oyhantçabal G, Narbondo I. Radiografía del agronegocio sojero. Montevideo: REDES-AT; 2008.,88. Morina JO, Cacace GP. Capitalismo agrario y expansión sojera en la Argentina. Revista de Geografía Meridiano 2013; 2:105-126. and the regionalities formed in different parts of the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century7474. Harvey D. El nuevo imperialismo. Madrid: Akal; 2004. may explain the increase in publications on this topic over the last 15 years. Although study approaches and aims may be different (modify agricultural practices, create environmental and health monitoring programs, and the development of palliative measures), knowledge production is situated and seeks to address a production model for which clear health alternatives do not yet exist. Assessing how studies of subjective production have collaborated in the search for alternatives to the exposure to agrochemicals is an area that warrants further research in the form of literature reviews and empirical studies.

Final considerations

The findings of this literature review reveal a heterogeneous field of studies adopting a variety of theoretical perspectives and analytical approaches. This diversity results from the wide range of positions on this issue anchored in different traditions shaping the study of population health. In face of the advance of chemical-dependent mechanized agriculture and the weakening of policies to control its health effects7575. Abbate S, Colazzo M, Fonsalía A, Heinzen H, Heinzen J, Niell S, Pareja L, Rodríguez, N. Agroquímicos, salud laboral y ambiental. Montevideo: CSIC; 2017., it is necessary to review the contribution of social research to this issue. To this end, it seems appropriate to start to link the growing body of critical research into the social dimensions of exposure to agrochemicals to the design of singular, collective, and structural preventive strategies directed at public health. As this type of research is still emergent in a field dominated by the chemical-dependent model of agricultural production, the contribution of this area of knowledge remains limited, meaning that it is difficult to associate it with concrete health programs. Therefore, connecting different critical perspectives and guiding and enhancing knowledge production seems to be one of the main challenges in this field of study.

Chart 1
Key features of the selected articles. Author’s elaboration.

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Leonardo Federico and Andrés Trotta for their methodological guidance and conducting the literature review. This work is part of a doctoral thesis in public health undertaken at the National University of Lanús, Argentina.

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History

  • Received
    20 Jan 2017
  • Accepted
    16 May 2017
  • rev-request
    18 May 2017
  • Publication
    Mar 2019
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