Pesticide Safety Education for Pacific Island Educators and Stakeholders

Progress report for WPDP23-016

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $99,099.00
Projected End Date: 05/31/2026
Host Institution Award ID: G300-23-W9986
Grant Recipient: University of Guam
Region: Western
State: Guam
Principal Investigator:
Jesse Bamba
University of Guam
Expand All

Project Information


This 3-year project strives to educate Service Providers (SP’s) regarding proper pesticide equipment calibration and regulatory compliance regarding Worker Protection Standard (WPS) rule with emphasis on reducing pesticide exposure and respirator fit testing. Success can result in improved pesticide application accuracy, employee health, regulatory compliance, environmental protection, resulting in increased grower profitability. Health care professionals will be trained to conduct respirator fit testing for Worker Protection Standards (WPS) compliance and to recognize and offer treatment options for potential pesticide exposures. Project success may result in improved pesticide application accuracy, employee health, regulatory compliance, environmental protection, resulting in increased profitability.

The purpose of the project is to provide pesticide safety education regarding exposure reduction, respirator fit testing, sprayer calibration for pesticide applicator stakeholders and health care providers in the Pacific Islands. Train-The-Trainer outreach activities and educational resources can be offered at local farmer markets in health care facilities to develop a trusted relationship between the two groups.

Improper calibration is a historical problem. This can lead to misapplication of pesticides and significant cost to growers.

Changes to the federal WPS focus on reducing pesticide exposure. Exposure reduction is critical to human health of pesticide applicators (handlers) and those who work in areas treated with pesticides. Training health care professionals in rural health clinics will provide a trusted source for workers with potential pesticide exposure and reliable source for respirator fit testing.

In Year One, between Hawaii, and the Pacific Island Territories 20 service providers will attend Train-The-Trainer workshops. In Year 2 twenty health care providers will attend Train-The-Trainer workshops.

Priority to participate will be given to growers, educators, and commodity organization representatives who agree to provide future training to others. Make-up of SP selected to attend the workshops will focus content of on significant crops in the service providers geographic area.


Project Objectives:

Objective 1: Enhance capabilities of partners and stakeholders to develop and implement programs/activities to improve sprayer calibration and prevent and reduce pesticide risks to agricultural farm workers and/or pesticide handlers


Project to meet this objective:

  1. Increase educators’ knowledge and skills to provide more engaging and interactive pesticide safety training.
  2. Demonstrate hands-on activities and provide necessary materials for educators to increase stakeholder engagement through interactive presentations.

Objective 2: Educate farmworkers and/or agricultural pesticide handlers on sprayer calibration and the safe use of pesticides.


Project goals to meet this objective:

  • Service Providers (SP’s) educate farmworkers and/or agricultural pesticide handlers on the safe use of pesticides with a focus on human and environmental exposure reduction, respiratory protection, sprayer calibration, and Worker Protection Standard (WPS) compliance assistance.
  • Provide access to pesticide safety educational materials through print materials available through extension educators, electronically through alternative media, INSPIRE and other online sources.
  • Adapt materials based on workshop evaluation recommendations, and to be culturally and crop specific to Pacific Island when funding, or existing print/video materials exist

Develop a stream-lined process to measure and document project process and facilitate replication of the project.


Objective 3: Protect humans, communities, and ecosystems from illnesses and injuries caused by potential exposure to pesticides


Project goals to meet this objective:

  1. Increase knowledge of medical personnel regarding signs, symptoms, and treatment of pesticide exposures
  2. Increase the number of respirator fit tests conducted by medical professionals, especially for WPS compliance.

Year One


Time Frame

Person(s) Responsible


Acceptance Notification






Action Plan Development






Advisory Committee



Meet health care representatives to build a network to conduct health care provider training.



During workshops on each PI Q1/Q2



Health Care representatives on each island


Pilot Pesticide Safety Education workshop in Hawaii







Face-to-Face meeting with PI Educators

During HI Workshop/Q3

Kerry Richards


Revision of agenda for future workshops



During Pilot workshop



PI Educator participants





Guam and American Samoa workshops



Q1 and Q2



Richards will collaborate cooperatively with local partners to manage meeting logistics



Virtual meeting cooperators


Post workshops debrief


Richards will send zoom invite and materials for review


Planning Health Care Professional Trainings



Upon identification of interested organizations






Interested organizations and specific health care providers



Year 2 and 3 and Ongoing Activities


Time Frame

Person(s) Responsible


Development/Procurement of resources for Health Care Provider workshops





Health Care Providers


Health Care Provider workshops








K. Richards will collaborate cooperatively with local partners to manage meeting logistics


Revision of Agenda for future workshops

 Completion of first workshop

K. Richards

Participating Health Care Providers

Provide Supplies for future respirator fit testing

Completion of each health care provider workshop

K. Richards



Virtual meetings of the Project Planning Team (PPT)

Monthly at the start,  then bi-monthly after the first six months

Richards will send zoom invite


Virtual meetings with educators and health care professionals

As needed for workshop planning


Educators/Health Care providers


Provide PERC materials


Creation of a PI section on the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship website


Populate INSPIRE website with materials from workshops and other PI specific materials


As materials become available



Upload materials at the completion of workshops




Develop “Project Planning Guide”

Upload materials at the completion of workshops




Required reporting





Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Mike Aguon
  • Cassie Brady (Educator)
  • George Hamilton (Educator)
  • Robin Tudor Marcom (Educator)
  • Jensen Uyeda (Educator)
  • Jessica Wilburn (Educator)


Educational approach:

The three-year grant focuses on priorities established un 2019 at the American Pacific Island Work Group (API/WG) Needs Assessment workshop, pesticide applicator training, applicator safety, and Worker Protection Standard (WPS) compliance. The goal in Year 1 of the grant (2023/2024) is educator/grower/applicator training, with a specific focus on sprayer calibration/accuracy and reducing exposure. Hands-on training sessions will show participants how to calibrate their sprayers, select the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and measure water Ph to determine potential impacts on pesticide efficacy and options to improve effectiveness.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

1) Sprauer Calibration 2) Exposure Reduction 3) Ph of water and pesticide efficacy 4) Regulators/educators working together

Sprayer Calibration

Exposure Reduction

Ph effect of pesticide efficacy

Current pest management concerns for Guam Growers


Backpack sprayer calibration 


Exposure Reduction


Ph and pesticide efficacy


Current pest management concerns for Guam growers

Outcomes and impacts:

Calibration of Sprayers

Selection and use of proper Personal Protective Equipment

Monitoring and managing ph for maximum psticide efficacy

Educational & Outreach Activities

2 Consultations
1 On-farm demonstrations

Learning Outcomes

40 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
40 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

2 Grants received that built upon this project
15 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

Participants indicated that as a result of the program over 40 participants indicated that as a result of the program:

x planned to calibrate their backpack sprayers 

x Would wear gloves to protect themselves from pesticide exposure

X Would wash gloves used during pesticide application before removing them

X Will make sure to wash clothes worn during pesticide application separate from family laundry

X Test the ph of water used to mix pesticide

30 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
50 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Additional Outcomes:

As a result of backpack sprayer calibration hands-on activity calibrating backpack ssprayers applicators will their own "rate of speed" for appication using a course set up to be the equivelent of a one acre area, and therefore will be able to calculate rate per acre applied. be able

Other outcomes to not would be; to determine improve spray coverage, clean, adjustment, and/or replace spray tips, 


Thirty-eight participants indicated that hands on activities kept them involved in the presentation and helped them to understand the information. As a result additional hands-on activities will be included during the American Samoa training and the second round of training in the Hawaiian Islands, For example, participants who attend the training in American Samoa (April 2 - 4) will be asked to bring a sample of water from the source the use for mixing pesticides and they will complete a ph test on  their water,

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.