The link between pesticide exposure and suicide in agricultural workers: a systematic review (2024)

Suicide

8 July 2024

Rural Remote Health. 2024 Jun;24(2):8190. doi: 10.22605/RRH8190. Epub 2024 Jun 26.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic literature review to find the association between pesticide exposure and the incidence of suicide in agricultural workers, focusing on analyzing the profile of agricultural workers, the countries with the highest number of publications and, especially, the link between occupational exposure to pesticides, the degradation of mental health and suicide among agricultural workers.

METHODS: A systematic literature review was conducted following the PRISMA protocol using Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed databases, where 33 articles were screened to compose the final portfolio.

RESULTS: There is a strong link between pesticide exposure and suicide in agricultural workers. Smoking, alcohol consumption, exposure time, and marital status influence the decision to die by suicide. Brazil and the US lead the ranking in publications, demonstrating that it is not a problem only for developing countries. Organophosphates are the main pesticides used, and they degrade an enzyme crucial for the nervous system, which can result in mental disorders and consequent suicide in agricultural workers.

CONCLUSION: There is a need for stricter norms for the commercialization and use of pesticides. There is also a need for providing training to agricultural workers on the application and storage of pesticides, and to communicate about the compounds and the consequences of pesticides to mental health.

PMID:38973164 | DOI:10.22605/RRH8190

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