Some Raise Risk by 90%
Pesticides have been associated with depression among farmers anecdotally and in small studies, but a recently released, 20-year-long mega-study by the National Institute of Health involving some 84,000 farmers and their spouses since the mid-1990s has established a significant, if unexplained, correlation between the use of certain commercial pesticides and clinical depression. Those that most drastically send the user's likelihood of depression soaring are organochlorine insecticides, which boost the depression risk by 90 percent, and fumigants, raising it by 80 percent. The NIH cites seven pesticides in specific, the most commonly used being malathion, applied by 2/3 of the farmers surveyed. The causal connection is unknown, but pesticides work by damaging insects’ nervous systems.