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Neuropsychiatric symptoms in past users of sheep dip and other pesticides

Neuropsychiatric symptoms in past users of sheep dip and other pesticides
Neuropsychiatric symptoms in past users of sheep dip and other pesticides
Objectives: To explore the prevalence and pattern of neuropsychiatric symptoms in past users of sheep dip and other pesticides.
Methods: From a postal survey of men born between 1933 and 1977 and resident in three rural areas of England and Wales (response rate 31%), data were obtained on lifetime history of work with pesticides, neurological symptoms in the past month, current mental health and tendency to be troubled by non-neurological somatic symptoms (summarised as a somatising tendency score). Risk factors for current neuropsychiatric symptoms were assessed by modified Cox regression.
Results: Data were available for 9844 men, including 1913 who had worked with sheep dip, 832 with other insecticides but not sheep dip and 990 with other pesticides but never with sheep dip or insecticides. Neurological symptoms were consistently 20–60% more common in past users of sheep dip than in men who had never worked with pesticides, but their prevalence was also higher in men who had worked only with pesticides other than sheep dip or insecticides. They clustered strongly within individuals, but this clustering was not specific to men who had worked with sheep dip. Reporting of three or more neurological symptoms was associated with somatising tendency (prevalence ratio (PR) 15.0, 95% CI 11.4 to 19.5, for the highest vs the lowest category of somatisation) and was more common in users of sheep dip (PR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.6), other insecticides (PR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.8) and other pesticides (PR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.7) than in non-users. Among users of sheep dip, prevalence was higher in men who had dipped most often, but not in those who had worked with sheep dip concentrate. Past use of pesticides was not associated with current anxiety or depression.
Conclusion: Neurological symptoms are more common in men who have worked with sheep dip, but the association is not specific to sheep dip or insecticides. A toxic cause for the excess cannot be ruled out, but several features of our observations suggest that psychological mechanisms have a role.
research
1351-0711
259-266
Solomon, Christine
4015a7ce-a704-40ee-8cc6-d0031377865e
Poole, Jason
88c69acd-8ff1-4d82-bd3d-8ea1720557e1
Palmer, Keith T.
0cfe63f0-1d33-40ff-ae8c-6c33601df850
Peveler, Robert
93198224-78d9-4c1f-9c07-fdecfa69cf96
Coggon, David
2b43ce0a-cc61-4d86-b15d-794208ffa5d3
Solomon, Christine
4015a7ce-a704-40ee-8cc6-d0031377865e
Poole, Jason
88c69acd-8ff1-4d82-bd3d-8ea1720557e1
Palmer, Keith T.
0cfe63f0-1d33-40ff-ae8c-6c33601df850
Peveler, Robert
93198224-78d9-4c1f-9c07-fdecfa69cf96
Coggon, David
2b43ce0a-cc61-4d86-b15d-794208ffa5d3

Solomon, Christine, Poole, Jason, Palmer, Keith T., Peveler, Robert and Coggon, David (2007) Neuropsychiatric symptoms in past users of sheep dip and other pesticides. Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 64 (4), 259-266. (doi:10.1136/oem.2005.023879).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objectives: To explore the prevalence and pattern of neuropsychiatric symptoms in past users of sheep dip and other pesticides.
Methods: From a postal survey of men born between 1933 and 1977 and resident in three rural areas of England and Wales (response rate 31%), data were obtained on lifetime history of work with pesticides, neurological symptoms in the past month, current mental health and tendency to be troubled by non-neurological somatic symptoms (summarised as a somatising tendency score). Risk factors for current neuropsychiatric symptoms were assessed by modified Cox regression.
Results: Data were available for 9844 men, including 1913 who had worked with sheep dip, 832 with other insecticides but not sheep dip and 990 with other pesticides but never with sheep dip or insecticides. Neurological symptoms were consistently 20–60% more common in past users of sheep dip than in men who had never worked with pesticides, but their prevalence was also higher in men who had worked only with pesticides other than sheep dip or insecticides. They clustered strongly within individuals, but this clustering was not specific to men who had worked with sheep dip. Reporting of three or more neurological symptoms was associated with somatising tendency (prevalence ratio (PR) 15.0, 95% CI 11.4 to 19.5, for the highest vs the lowest category of somatisation) and was more common in users of sheep dip (PR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.6), other insecticides (PR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.8) and other pesticides (PR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.7) than in non-users. Among users of sheep dip, prevalence was higher in men who had dipped most often, but not in those who had worked with sheep dip concentrate. Past use of pesticides was not associated with current anxiety or depression.
Conclusion: Neurological symptoms are more common in men who have worked with sheep dip, but the association is not specific to sheep dip or insecticides. A toxic cause for the excess cannot be ruled out, but several features of our observations suggest that psychological mechanisms have a role.

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More information

Published date: 2007
Keywords: research

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 62601
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/62601
ISSN: 1351-0711
PURE UUID: ba764d9b-b80e-4f1b-b900-657ebb3029bf
ORCID for Robert Peveler: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5596-9394
ORCID for David Coggon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1930-3987

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Date deposited: 09 Sep 2008
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 02:51

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Contributors

Author: Christine Solomon
Author: Jason Poole
Author: Keith T. Palmer
Author: Robert Peveler ORCID iD
Author: David Coggon ORCID iD

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