Suicide and Pesticide Use among Pesticide Applicators and Their Spouses in the Agricultural Health Study

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES The articles focus on suicides among farmers and the relation in has with the use of pesticides in agricultural activities. The author states that the study shows that agricultural farmers commit more suicides than individuals do from other sectors. he also states that in some studies the exposure to pesticides results to the suicides among the farmers. For example in Australia, the rate of suicide is high and most of the suicides are related to pesticide applications, also in Colorado, the death rates among agricultural farmers is high and in most cases is associated with the exposure to the "organophosphate pesticides." Even with the many deaths associated with the use of pesticides such as OP and the chlorpyrifos, the articles sole purpose focuses centrally on how the organophosphate pesticides(OP) results to suicide among the users and their spouses in the agricultural health study (Beard, et al., 2011).
As per the methodology, the article focuses on the agricultural health studys cohort (1993-1997) who provided data on the lifestyle and the demographic factors, and pesticide use and exposure at the beginning of enrollment (1993). Most of these applicators were men with women forming the most spouses. The information was recorded systematically according to the age, the location, the sex, and the health diagnostic of the cohort. The authors also assessed the rate of exposure of each individual, the statistical methods used was the "COX proportional regression model." The main reason for choosing the model was that it would show the estimated hazard ratios, another model used in the article includes the stratifying models. In the stratifying model, the categorization was in terms of using protective gear (chemical resistant gears), the number of children, and the location (Beard, et al., 2011).
Under the Cox model, the researchers investigated both the applicators and their spouses combined, this is because the data gathered relating to the spouses was too little, hence could not be analyzed alone. Later the covariates associated with suicides in both age-adjusted and age-adjusted models and the unadjusted models, under this they used the "Schwarz Bayesian and the Akaike information criterions." Under the stratifying models the researchers compares the HRs using the two strata, these models included the race and the marital status. The marital status and the race categories include the individuals that had ever used pesticides and those diagnosed with diabetes.
The authors results collected showed that the risk for suicide was high for the participants more than 65 years of age, the divorced participants, those living in North Carolina, those participants that smoked, those participants that drunk alcohol. Many of the participants with the risk of committing suicide were men, however even with the past research associating most of the suicides with the OP, the studies suicide mainly revolved around Pyrethroid insecticides that had a higher HR (1.09. 95%) (Beard, et al., 2011). Also as per the research, most of the applicators did not show relationships between the use of pesticides and suicide.
The authors carefully analyzed the results and in most of the cases, no evidence was found proving the association between pesticide use and suicides. Through carefully analyzing the results the authors answered, the hypothesis was providing explanations for their conclusion. they provided new information contrary to what many researchers reported before. The research work in the article is significance as it changes the past understanding of how pesticides contribute too many deaths among farmers. the interpretations refute the past observations as much past research argue that pesticides use is associated with the death of farmers (Beard, et al., 2011).
Beard, J., Umbach, D., Hoppin, J., Richards, M., Alavanja, M., Blair, A., . . . Kamel, F. (2011). Suicide and pesticide use among pesticide applicators and their spouses in the Agricultural Health Study. Environmental health Perspectives, 119.