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Examples would include the dust from Bt corn or milk produced by transgenic pigs that contain a clotting agent to help people with hemophilia or other pharmaceutical product Schreeve, The second important agent category is the different mix of potential hazards that might result or are resulting from differences in using, producing, processing, storing, transporting, or managing genetically engineered products. For example, production of Roundup Ready soybeans results in a different mix of inputs and production practices.
Roundup herbicide is substituted for a mix of other herbicides that have traditionally been used. The use of Roundup spray over the top of a soybean crop could render past practices such as youth riding on a bean bar herbicide applicator unnecessary or obsolete. Environment — Environment refers to the social and structural environment in which future agricultural workers will be producing food.
In this discussion, the physical environment water, soil, and air quality will not be covered. The environment includes the abundance and potential overload of information from numerous public and private sources. As the structure of agriculture evolves, and as more products of biotechnology are adopted by producers, there will be increasingly complex production and business relationships between input suppliers, producers, transporters, processors, and end-users.
The concept of information technology being part of this new complex mix will be covered within this environmental section. When examining host characteristics and how biotechnology might impact people and their health and safety risks related to agricultural work, keep in mind that cause and effect relationships are not implied in this discussion. There are numerous personal and socioeconomic factors associated with adoption of inputs and products that are genetically engineered, but more time and research is needed to determine the true impact on the structure of production agriculture and the socioeconomic characteristics of people who will be the active users of these technologies.
Many of the trends and directions that will be discussed are being driven partly by technology but are also affected by other economic and social forces such as global competition and changes in farm policy. Mike Boehlje, agricultural economist said in his speech Megatrends in Agriculture, "We will be moving from a system where we grow corn and raise pigs to an industry where we manufacture biological products with specific consumer-driven attributes" Boehlje, Boehlje points out that this change is being driven by changes in biotechnology and information technology.
This trend will influence the characteristics of people who will be manufacturing these agricultural products.
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Several studies suggest a strong positive associations between technology adoption and level of education. These adopters also operate larger farms and are more productive than non-adopters. Looking at other types of technologies including computer and Internet use, this trend is confirmed as adoption is associated with farm size, total sales, level of education, and operator age, though adoption goes down after age 44 Wojan, It is difficult to predict what this might mean for agricultural worker's risk related to injury and occupational illness. More research is needed to examine relationships between the education level and farm size of people working in agriculture and their risk of work-related injury and illness.
Only one case-control study was found in a review of the literature that suggested that increased education was a protective factor for machinery-related injury Gerberich et al, As we look at the mix of people and farming operations in the United States, technology is helping drive, or at least supporting, the trend toward larger-scale farming operations. According to the U. Census of Agriculture, However, this trend toward increased technology does not necessarily signal the demise of small family-operated farms, at least not in the foreseeable future.
The Agriculture Census indicates that So, there remain many small family farms, and a considerable amount of exposure to occupationally related hazards will continue in these operations. Some of the same producer trends related to education and skill level are consistent between large-scale farms and successful small farming operations. Successful small farms are similar to larger operations Perry and Johnson, in that they tend to:. Working one or more off-the-farm jobs has important agricultural safety implications in terms of family member's exposure to hazards, level of adult supervision available for children, child labor, children's exposure to farm hazards other than while working, and stress and fatigue related health and safety issues.
The implications of host-level trends within the farming population and structurally-related trends which are at least mediated by the adoption of biotechnology are summarized as follows:. From to , expenses allocated to hired labor in production agriculture did not change dramatically as a percentage of total product expenses, but expenses for contract labor did increase USDA - National Agricultural Statistics Service, The work of agricultural safety and health professionals with larger farms is considerably different than the traditional Midwestern model of working with small, single family operations.
Once a certain labor threshold is met, agricultural safety and health professionals and their clientele face many new challenges such as regulatory compliance, occupational health screening, workers compensation, and other complex inter-related personnel issues Boehlje et al. For example, a Midwestern farmer might produce a genetically-modified high oil or high protein corn for a specific food processor or livestock producer.
Most often, this will involve the farmer producing the product under a carefully written contract that will specify the types of inputs to be used such as seed, fertilizer, pesticides, and labor practices Perry and Banker, This phenomena of increased vertical integration could mean that occupational safety and health professionals may have a secondary market that could help influence safety and health related decisions among producers who are working at the front end of an entire production process that extends from the field or feedlot to the consumer. In terms of farm safety and health information, it will be important to provide information that is timely and is seen to have economic value to the producer and it must compete with a growing quantity of other production information.
The most rapid growth in the on-farm input use of biotechnology and genetically modified organisms thus far have been Bt crops and herbicide tolerant crops. Relatively little published literature exists documenting the specific worker-related exposure and risk implications of these two technologies. Heimlich et al. The GMO technologies examined included Bt corn and cotton as well as herbicide tolerant soybeans, corn and cotton. However, the difference in the total quantity of pesticide active ingredient applied between adopters and nonadopters was small in with only a , pound difference 0.
This difference dropped to , pounds in Heimlich et al. To truly measure the potential positive worker health and safety impacts, it is important to consider the qualities of the pesticides whose quantities are reduced. This includes the pesticide's toxicity and level of environmental persistence.
At a glance
In the case of Roundup Ready or glyphosate resistant crops, the analysis by Heimlich et al. The primary herbicides that Roundup replaces are 3. Roundup has an environmental half-life of 47 days compared to 60 to 90 days for the herbicides it typically replaces. Similar benefits are potentially gained from the use of Bt products.
In the case of Bt corn and cotton, the Bt proteins expressed in plant tissues are intended to take the place of externally applied insecticides. Betz, Hammond, and Fuchs state that "Extensive testing of Bt-protected crops has been conducted which establishes safety of these products to humans, the animals, and the environment. The risk of misuse, ineffective timing of applications, and worker exposure to pesticide is virtually eliminated.
However, the Agency determined these reactions were not due to Bacillus thuringiensis itself or any of the Cry toxins. Presumably, this mention of the possibility of dermally-related health effects is EPA's response the work of Bernstein et al.
It appears more research is needed in this area. No published research was found examining the potential human health impacts of dusts associated with GMO crop or livestock products, including Bt plants or other types of approved GMO products. The issue was raised by Hansen of the Consumer Policy Institute at an EPA Science Advisory Panel where he stated, "corn dust can clearly convey allergens, and the pro-delta-endotoxin [found in Bt corn] is potentially allergenic, so there is ample evidence to be concerned about occupational exposure to grain dusts, especially corn.
The use of genetically engineered herbicide tolerant crops has dramatically reduced the amount of hand labor involved in removing weeds from certain crops, although this phenomenon does not appear to have been documented in the literature. In southern Minnesota and northern Iowa in the late 's and early 's, there was tremendous interest related to the safety and health implications of youth riding as workers on bean bars.
Bean bars are tractor-mounted devices, generally with two to four seats mounted on a toolbar attached to the front of a tractor. Operators riding on these seats carried a spray gun, brush, or other type of application device used to spray or dab on liquid herbicide onto volunteer corn plants or other weeds that rose above the soybean canopy. Hiring youth or migrant workers to walk through soybean fields with machetes and other sharp tools to cut down weeds within soybean fields was another common practice. At this time, the labor reductions in sugar beets, are due to changes in general herbicide technologies and not necessarily to GMO technology, though adoption of herbicide resistant sugar beet plants has the potential to virtually eliminate hand labor for weeding this crop.leondumoulin.nl/language/genres/solace-the-story-of.php
Information and communications technology in agriculture - Wikipedia
Little published literature outlining implications of GMO's and other biotechnologies on the practices used to produce, process, store, and transport these products is available. One trend is clear based on events that led to unapproved genetically modified corn that entered the food stream in the fall of Holzman, Farm-level harvest, storage, processing, and transportation systems will need to become more sophisticated and workers' exposure to hazards will change.
The incident referenced above involved a specific type of Bt corn approved for animal feed, but not for human consumption. Small quantities of this corn entered the human food stream in the U. Tests revealed that the unapproved genetic material was present in taco shells and other human food products. Because of concerns related to cross-contamination of agricultural products, farmers producing several types of GMO products will have to carefully produce, harvest, handle, store and process their products.
Contamination between approved and unapproved corn varieties is not the only example.
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Riley and Hoffman explore several different crops currently being produced or in a development phase that will likely be higher valued than traditional commodity crops like 2 yellow corn. Examples cited include crops that are genetically engineered to produce unique proteins or to improve some critical nutritional component. Riley and Hoffman also discuss the potential and likely on-farm production of nutraceuticals.
This term is described as:. Researchers claim nutraceuticals, also called 'functional foods' could conceivably provide immunity to a disease or improve the health characteristics of traditional food - e. Many of these high-valued products may be grown by companies or institutions that are not typically viewed as farmers or agricultural producers, but instead, produce agricultural products in laboratories, greenhouses, or in other carefully controlled settings.