Small actions like wearing specific clothing, appropriate gloves and closed footwear, and avoid harvesting tobacco when the leaves are wet with rain or morning dew, are steps for a safe harvest. If contact with wet tobacco leaves is avoided, the farmers are not exposed to the nicotine of the leaves, thus avoiding the so-called Green Tobacco Sickness.
Besides the high investments in the development of efficient protective clothing, the companies have also invested in information and awareness initiatives, with the aim to protect the health and safety of the integrated tobacco farmers. In 2014, upwards of 1.3 thousand agricultural extension agents attended capacity building courses on the theme and they handed out to the integrated growers a folder that addresses the necessary precautions related to the Green Tobacco Sickness.
RESEARCH – Harvest clothing that is provided by the companies at cost, started to be developed in 2009, when the SindiTabaco hired a specialized consultancy* to do research on the subject, including the development and technical specifications of the clothing. In 2010 and 2011, a second consultancy** was hired, this time for evaluating the efficiency of the clothing, its operational safety and protection against the Green Tobacco Sickness. The study scientifically attested that the harvest clothing reduces dermal exposure by 98%, and is considered to be highly efficient in controlling the problem. Furthermore, the clothing was developed with an eye towards providing the farmers with greater thermal comfort.
* Professor Luiz Carlos Castanheira (UNICAMP – Campinas/SP): agronomic and safety engineer, self-employed consultant in workplace safety and hygiene among rural workers.
** Planitox, in Campinas, coordinated by Dr. Flávio Zambrone.
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