INTRODUCTION: Both suicidal behaviour and consumption of arsenic-contaminated drinking-water represent major public health problems. Previous epidemiological and animal studies showed that high arsenic intake may also be associated with the elevated risk for depression. Since untreated depression is the most powerful risk factor for suicidal behaviour, we postulated that the consumption of arsenic-contaminated tap drinking-water may also be related to suicide.
METHOD: Based on the level of arsenic in their drinking water Hungarian settlements with more then 500 inhabitants (n=1639) were divided into four groups. Then average age-standardized suicide rates of the four groups were compared.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: We found that the higher is the arsenic level in the drinking water the higher is the suicide rate of the settlements. In addition to the practical consequences of our preliminary results (e.g. in the suicide prevention) they also suggest that high level of arsenic in drinking water might contribute, at least in part, to the well-known and stable in time regional differences in suicide mortality of Hungary since the highest arsenic levels in drinking water have been found in counties with traditionally high suicide rates, such as Bacs-Kiskun, Csongrad, Bekes and Hajdu- Bihar.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Psychiatria Hungarica : A Magyar Pszichiátriai Társaság tudományos folyóirata|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
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