Second Nature Care Blog

Pesticides and Suicide

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 8, 2020 11:45:00 AM / by Isadora Guggenheim

Farmer selling his organic produce on a sunny day

Do pesticides cause depression and and increase the risk of suicide?  Why are non-organic farmers 3.6 times more likely to commit suicide than other professions? Is it because farming is stressful with several uncontrollable factors?  Or is it chemicals that change brain chemistry?

When I first wrote on this topic, in 2016, CDC research linked long-term use of pesticides to depression and suicide. Fast forward to 2018.

From the National Farmers Union:

The 2016 CDC study was retracted in June because of coding errors for certain occupational groups. Earlier this month, it was replaced with new information that, at first glance, seems to dispute the claim that farmers and ranchers have an unusually high suicide rate. In fact, the “Farming, Fishing and Forestry” (or “Triple-F”) ranked only eighth and ninth among major occupational groups, with a suicide rate on par with the overall average. However, a closer look reveals that the suicide rate for male “Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers” (a subgroup of the “Management” major group) was double that of the general population in 2012.

From the CDC - 

The 2012 and 2015 male suicide rates among Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers (SOC 11–9013, a subgroup of the SOC 11 Management major group) were 44.9 (CI = 34.2–57.9) and 32.2 (CI = 24.2–42.0) per 100,000, based on 59 and 54 suicides in 2012 and 2015, respectively. The 2012 and 2015 male suicide rates for Agricultural Workers (SOC 45–2000, a subgroup of the SOC 45 Farming, Fishing, and Forestry major group) were 20.4 (CI = 13.8–29.1) and 17.3 (CI = 12.1–23.9), based on 30 and 36 suicides in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Pesticides do alter brain chemistry. French farmers who used herbicides were twice as likely to be treated for depression.  Workers in Brazil that used pesticides were more likely to commit suicide.  In the rural province of Zhejiang in China, people who stored pesticides in their homes doubled their risk of having suicidal thoughts.  

Insecticides disrupt nerve cells in insects and at high doses can damage human nerve cells. 

Parkinson's linked to pesticide exposure, is characterized by a lack of dopamine.  Lack of dopamine causes depression.  

Which pesticides are linked to depression?

Fumigants aluminum phosphide, ethylene dibromide, phenoxy herbicide 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid, dieldrin, diazinon, malathion and parathion.  Read labels and ask questions. Your wine is loaded with some of these chemicals. 

Schedule your environmental detox consult today.

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The three darlings in the industry - Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer CropScience publicly said that they do not manufacture the seven deadly pesticides linked to depression.  

Neonocotinoids, responsible for the genocide of bees, have not studied with humans, but one fourth generation farmer in Iowa was working with them when he committed suicide.  

Where to start?

  • Buy organic and local produce and meats
  • Schedule your environmental consult with the experts at Second Nature
  • Get our water and air filter recommendations.

Topics: Mood Disorders, Detoxification, Brain Health

Isadora Guggenheim

Written by Isadora Guggenheim

Isadora Guggenheim, ND, FNP, RN, MS, CNS, LMT, owner of Second Nature Naturopathic Care, LLC
For all appointments: Tel: 845 358-8385 Fax: 845 358-2963