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Environ Health Perspect. 2014 Sep;122(9):984-91. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1307450. Epub 2014 Jun 6.

Pesticide exposure and depression among male private pesticide applicators in the agricultural health study.

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1
Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pesticide exposure may be positively associated with depression. Few previous studies have considered the episodic nature of depression or examined individual pesticides.

OBJECTIVE:

We evaluated associations between pesticide exposure and depression among male private pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study.

METHODS:

We analyzed data for 10 pesticide classes and 50 specific pesticides used by 21,208 applicators enrolled in 1993-1997 who completed a follow-up telephone interview in 2005-2010. We divided applicators who reported a physician diagnosis of depression (n = 1,702; 8%) into those who reported a previous diagnosis of depression at enrollment but not follow-up (n = 474; 28%), at both enrollment and follow-up (n = 540; 32%), and at follow-up but not enrollment (n = 688; 40%) and used polytomous logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs. We used inverse probability weighting to adjust for potential confounders and to account for the exclusion of 3,315 applicators with missing covariate data and 24,619 who did not complete the follow-up interview.

RESULTS:

After weighting for potential confounders, missing covariate data, and dropout, ever-use of two pesticide classes, fumigants and organochlorine insecticides, and seven individual pesticides-the fumigants aluminum phosphide and ethylene dibromide; the phenoxy herbicide (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy)acetic acid (2,4,5-T); the organochlorine insecticide dieldrin; and the organophosphate insecticides diazinon, malathion, and parathion-were all positively associated with depression in each case group, with ORs between 1.1 and 1.9.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study supports a positive association between pesticide exposure and depression, including associations with several specific pesticides.

PMID:
24906048
PMCID:
PMC4154212
DOI:
10.1289/ehp.1307450
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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