Some studies have suggested a role of pesticide exposure in the development of neurobehavioral disorders. This case-control study examined the association between mortality from mental disorders and occupational exposure to pesticides. The study population consisted of 7756 deaths and 330,452 eligible controls identified from US death certificate files for the years 1988 through 1992. Exposure assignment was based on job title reported on the death certificates. Employment in jobs potentially involving pesticide exposure was weakly associated with the risk of death from mental disorders (odds ratio [OR] = 1.46; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 1.33–1.60). This association was stronger among women (OR = 2.65; 95% CI = 1.89–3.71), in particular for deaths from neurotic disorders (OR = 4.32; 95% CI = 2.44–7.64). These results must be interpreted with caution, however, because the impact of social and work-related factors other than pesticide exposure is not known.
From Applied Epidemiology, Inc., Amherst, Massachusetts.
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