An exploratory investigation of suicide and occupational exposure

J Occup Environ Med. 2003 Jan;45(1):96-101. doi: 10.1097/00043764-200301000-00018.


This exploratory study evaluated the association between suicide and occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields, pesticides, and hydrocarbon solvents. The study population comprised 11,707 suicide deaths and 132,771 eligible controls identified from United States death certificate files for the years 1991 and 1992. Exposure assignment was based on job title reported on the death certificates. Exposure to electromagnetic fields and pesticides was weakly associated with suicide risk, while little evidence for an increased risk was seen for hydrocarbon solvents. The association for electromagnetic field exposure was highest for suicide between the ages 20 and 35 (odds ratio; OR = 1.5), while the highest risk of suicide for pesticide exposure was seen between the ages of 35 and 49 years (OR = 1.5). Further investigation to replicate these findings seems warranted, using higher quality occupational data.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons*
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Solvents
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Hydrocarbons
  • Solvents