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J Agromedicine. 2006;11(3-4):107-12. doi: 10.1300/J096v11n03_11.

Suicide and potential occupational exposure to pesticides, Colorado 1990-1999.

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Colorado Injury Control Research Center, Department of Psychology, Colorado State University. Fort Collins, CO 80523-1876, USA. USA.


A number of occupational studies have reported high rates of suicide among selected occupations, including farmers. Limited work has focused on occupational exposures that may increase the risk of suicide. The purpose of this study is to describe suicide among individuals potentially exposed to pesticides through their occupation. Data from Colorado death certificate files for the period 1990-1999 were obtained. Eligible records were those individuals who were Colorado residents at the time of death who had an occupation listed on their death certificates. Cases had suicide listed as the primary cause of death on the death certificates. The comparison group included Colorado residents who died from any cause during the same period other than cancer, mental disorders and injuries. A total of 4,991 suicide deaths were included and a total of 107,692 other deaths served as the comparison group. Occupations considered pesticide exposed included: veterinarians; pest control occupations; farmers and farm workers; farm managers and supervisors; marine life cultivators; nursery workers; groundskeepers and gardeners; animal caretakers; graders, sorters and inspectors of agricultural products; and forestry workers, supervisors and loggers. All other occupational categories were coded as unexposed. Logistic regression was used to compare the groups, separately for males and females. After controlling for age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, years of education, and marital status, males who were in pesticide exposed occupations had higher odds of suicide (odds ratio 1.14; 95% confidence interval 0.97, 1.34) and females in pesticide exposed occupations also had higher odds of suicide (odds ratio 1.98; 95% confidence interval 1.01, 3.88).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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