The EU Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides (EU128/2009/EC) requires European Member States to
develop training activities targeting occupational exposure to pesticides, and communication material aimed at
residents and bystanders. Risk perceptions, knowledge and attitudes associated with passive and occupational
exposure to pesticide potentially influence the extent to which different stakeholders adopt self-protective
behaviour. A methodology for assessing the link between attitudes, adoption of self-protective behaviours and
exposure was developed and tested. A survey was implemented in the Greece, Italy and the UK, and targeted
stakeholders associated with pesticide exposure linked to orchards, greenhouse crops and arable crops respectively.
The results indicated that the adoption of protective measures is low for residents and bystanders, with
the exception of residents in Greece, when compared to operators and workers, who tend to follow recommended
safety practices. A regression analysis was used to examine the factors affecting the probability of adopting
protective measures as well the as the level of exposure in the case of operators and workers where data are available.
The results indicate that the likelihood of engaging in self-protective behaviour is not significantly affected
by perceptions of own health being affected by pesticides for residents and bystanders. However, operators who
perceive that their heath has been negatively affected by the use of pesticides are found to be more likely to adopt
self-protective behaviours. Gender and country differences, in perceptions, attitudes and self-protection are also
observed. Recommendations for improved communication, in particular for vulnerable groups, are provided.