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Cotton picking is an exclusive work that is performed only by women in Pakistan. They are directly exposed to pesticide as cotton picking is usually done without protective measures which cause destructive effects on their health. Better cotton standard system involves trainings of cotton pickers to use precautionary measures and avoid pesticide exposure. The current study has been conducted to explore the health cost of women cotton pickers in conventional versus better cotton in Punjab, Pakistan. Primary data were collected from 600 cotton pickers through an organized questionnaire from three districts (Layyah, Toba Tek Singh, and Bahawalnagar). Ordinary least square method was used to find the pesticide exposure and socioeconomic factors affecting the health cost of women cotton pickers. The study shows that total cost per person, cost of medication, productivity loss, cost of accompanied person, and dietary expenses in better cotton are significantly less than those in the conventional cotton. Cost of precautionary measures in better cotton is significantly higher than conventional cotton as better cotton pickers are trained to use precautionary measures. Moreover, education, distance from hospital, and precautionary measures affect health cost significantly. Results suggest that education should be improved in rural areas. Better cotton standard system should be promoted in Pakistan through education and other training programs. Women cotton pickers should be encouraged to use protective measures.


Muhammad Asim Yasin, Khuda Bakhsh, Rafaqet Ali, Hafiz Irshad Hussain. Impact of better cotton initiative on health cost and pesticide exposure of women cotton pickers in Punjab, Pakistan. Environmental science and pollution research international. 2021 Jan;28(2):2074-2081

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PMID: 32865685

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