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In Thailand, pesticide use has increased exponentially over the past 15 years causing critical public health concern. We used a geographic information system and applied a remote sensing method in an integrated manner on land use data to model the spatial patterns of pesticide exposure. We also used toxicological data to quantify the health effects in terms of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) attributed to pesticide use in Thailand. We found that 56%of the total population (35,144,284 persons) had potential pesticide drift at their residences. Pesticide exposure was mostly due to glyphosate and paraquat applied to rice farms and atrazine applied to sugarcane farms, which were more widespread in the central and northeastern regions of the country. The total burden caused by pesticide use equated to 10,045 DALYs, of which more than half (52%) was due to use of paraquat. Regarding policy implications, all relevant sectors should work on reducing paraquat use in crop fields. Reduction of pesticide exposure should be placed as the top priority for making health-related pesticide management policies.
Keywords: pesticide, glyphosate, paraquat, remote sensing, GIS, Thailand
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