Preliminary investigation of the possible association between arsenic levels in drinking water and suicide mortality

Published: 19. September 2019
Category: Medicine
Author: Zoltán Rihmer


Background: Arsenic-contaminated drinkingwater (ACDW) represents a major global public health problem. A few previous studies suggested that consuming ACDW may be associated with elevated risk for depression.

Aim: Since depression is the most relevant risk factor for suicide, we hypothesized that consumption of ACDW may be also associated with suicide.

Method: To investigate this, we compared the age-standardized suicide rates (SSR) of 1639 Hungarian settlements with low (r10 μg/l), intermediate (11–30 μg/l), high (31–50 μg/l) and very high (Z51 μg/l) levels of arsenic in drinking water.

Result: We found a positive association between SSR and consumption of ACDW.

Limitations: (1) we used aggregated (i.e., non-individual) data; (2) we have not adjusted our model for important medical and socio-demographic determinants of suicidal behavior; (3) we had no data on differences in bottled water consumption between settlements.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that in addition to its well-known adverse health effects, consumption of ACDW may also be associated with suicidal behavior.

Please find the whole article here: Arsenic in drinking water


Arsenic, Drinking water, Suicide, Risk factor

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