Pesticides called organophosphates have been banned in many Western countries but are still widely used in the developing world. They can be very dangerous to people's physical health and there is also evidence that long-term, low-level exposure to them can also have effects on people's mental health. Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and Tongde Hospital, Zhejiang, China looked into the links between pesticide use and suicidal thoughts in rural areas of China. They studied 9,811 people who were asked whether they stored pesticides at home and if they had had any suicidal thoughts; they were also given questionnaires to assess their general health. The more easily accessible the pesticides were the more people's thoughts turned to killing themselves and those areas with the highest levels of home storage also had the highest levels of suicidal thoughts.
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