Pesticides up to no good, says new research
A decrease in pesticide availability led to an associated decrease in suicide rates in Sri Lanka, researchers publishing in the International Journal of Epidemiology have concluded. In 1995 and 1998, restrictions were put into place on importation and sales of highly toxic pesticides in Sri Lanka; in 2005, the country’s suicide rate was half what it had been in 1995. “Changes in the availability of a commonly used method of suicide may influence not only method-specific but also overall suicide rates,” says researcher David Gunnell. “Pesticides are readily available in most rural households in low-income countries and are commonly used by young people who impulsively poison themselves in moments of crisis.” Pesticide self-poisoning may account for over one-third of global suicides. In other news, U.S. researchers report that pesticide exposure appears to increase the risk of asthma in farmers. So eat organic already.