Review Article

The link between pesticide exposure and suicide in agricultural workers: a systematic review


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Moisés Barbosa Junior
1 (Moisés Barbosa Junior) Master degree, PhD Candidate, Researcher *

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Diego Alexis Ramos Huarachi
1 Master in Industrial Engineering , PhD Candidate, Researcher

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Antonio Carlos de Francisco
1 PhD, Professor


1 Sustainable Production Systems Laboratory (LESP), Post-Graduate Program in Industrial Engineering (PPGEP), Department of Industrial Engineering (DAENP), Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná (UTFPR), R. Doutor Washington Subtil Chueire 330 – Jardim Carvalho, Ponta Grossa, Paraná 84017-220, Brazil

ACCEPTED: 5 March 2024

early abstract:

Objective: To conduct a systematic literature review to find the association between pesticide exposure and the incidence of suicide in agricultural workers, focusing on analysing the profile of agricultural workers, the countries with the highest number of publications and, especially, the link between occupational exposure to pesticides, the degradation of mental health and suicide among agricultural workers.
Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted following the PRISMA protocol using Scopus, Web of Science, and Pubmed databases, where 33 articles were screened to compose the final portfolio.
Results: There is a strong link between pesticide exposure and suicide in agricultural workers. Smoking, alcohol consumption, exposure time, and marital status influence the decision to commit suicide. Brazil and the USA lead the ranking in publications, demonstrating that it is not a problem only for developing countries. Organophosphates are the main pesticides used, and they degrade an enzyme crucial for the nervous system that produces mental disorders and the consequent suicide in agricultural workers.
Conclusion: There is a need for Stricter norms for the commercialization and use of pesticides; also, provide training to agricultural workers in the application and storage, and communicate the compounds and consequences of pesticides over mental health.
Keywords: agricultural worker; farmer; suicide; mental health; pesticide.