Behavioural and social factors can influence exposure to pesticides. For example, more men were found to handle pesticides than women, with the gender difference even greater among Azerbaijani speakers than Georgian speakers. On the other hand, 55% of women hand-wash pesticide-contaminated clothing compared to 20% of men.
Physiological factors increase the vulnerability of children and women to harm from pesticide exposure. Breastfeeding and expectant mothers, for example, are particularly vulnerable. Female farm workers seem to be at particular risk
, with more than half of mothers in the study group aged 18-40 saying they take no extra precautions to avoid pesticide exposure during pregnancy. Given the generally poor standard of safety, this is concerning.
Social factors of pesticide exposure include language. Just 5% of the Azerbaijani speakers in the study group were found to speak Georgian, with only 1% capable of reading Georgian. This is likely to affect their ability to access safety information.
In addition, the difference in response between Azeri-speaking farmers and farm workers is striking. A significant number of farm workers (23%) complained of poisoning incidents compared to just 5% of farmers. This raises questions about working conditions for agricultural workers in the area.
Farm workers also seemed more likely to engage in risky practices, such as eating, drinking and smoking while applying pesticides.