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Pesticide Exposure: Linked to Severe Depression
 

US Farm Crisis (usfarmcrisis@iatp.org) Posted: 03/09/2003 By

mritchie@iatp.org ============================================================

 

*Severe depression may result from pesticide exposure* Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN) Journal 2003-01-01

Over exposure to agricultural pesticides may be linked to severe depression, according to a Nov 13, 2002, news release from Colorado State University, Ft Collins. Researchers studied 761 farmers and their spouses from eight northeastern Colorado counties between 1992 and 1997. The 69 participants who reported being sickened by pesticide poisoning were 5.8 times more likely to score high on tests measuring depression level compared to participants who reported they had not been poisoned by pesticides.

Industrial strength agricultural pesticides contain organophosphate compounds, which are highly toxic. Organophosphates are absorbed easily through the skin, mucus membranes, lungs, and intestines. A person poisoned by pesticides can experience immediate nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, respiratory problems, and blurred vision. The study shows that long-term effects of pesticide poisoning can include anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and depression.

Previous studies have shown that farm residents suffer from higher rates of depression compared to other population groups, and farm workers have higher suicide rates than other groups. Other findings from this study indicate that female farm residents in poor physical health are more susceptible to depressive symptoms, and young farmers are more likely to suffer from severe depression compared to older farmers.

Colorado State University Professor Links Depression among

Farm Residents to Pesticide Exposure (news release, Ft Collins,

Col Colorado State University, Nov 13, 2002) www.newsinfo.colostate.edu/index. asp?page=news_item_display&news_item_id= 1490429860 (accessed 27 Nov 2002).


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