Increased risk of suicide with exposure to pesticides in an intensive agricultural area. A 12-year retrospective study

Forensic Sci Int. 1996 May 17;79(1):53-63. doi: 10.1016/0379-0738(96)01895-6.


Several reports have suggested that exposure to agricultural pesticides (mainly chronic exposure to organophosphates) produces depression, and depression is a major risk factor for suicide. A retrospective epidemiological study of 251 suicide cases was undertaken to explore the possible relationship between the high suicide rates in an intensive agricultural area, and a specific group of population at risk, namely farmers with chronic exposure to pesticides, who are at risk to develop mood disorders (mainly depression). Our data show that the suicide rate in that area is significantly higher than the suicide rates from other geographic areas with very similar socioeconomic and demographic features. In addition, the mortality from suicide in this population (farmers) does differ significantly from that of the rest of the population.

MeSH terms

  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Depression / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Suicide* / statistics & numerical data


  • Pesticides