Pesticide exposure linked to depression in agricultural workers

Photo credit: Ryan Melaugh Photo credit: Ryan Melaugh

A new epidemiological study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives by researchers from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has found that pesticide exposure is linked to depression in male pesticide applicators. A total of 21,208 private pesticide applicators were surveyed from 1993-1997, and again between 2005 and 2010. After confounding factors were accounted for, fumigants and organochlorine insecticides were positively associated with depression in the surveyed individuals. Seven specific pesticides were also identified as being positively associated with depression in workers who had applied them. Concluding that their study “supports a positive association between depression and occupational pesticide use among applicators,” the researchers called for further experimental research on the health effects of pesticides on humans.