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

Zoltán Rihmer, Melinda Hal, Balázs Kapitány, Xénia Gonda, Márta Vargha, Péter Döme

Research output: Article

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background Arsenic-contaminated drinking water (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 (≥10 μg/l), intermediate (11-30 μg/l), high (31-50 μg/l) and very high (≤51 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-25
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Publication statusPublished - aug. 15 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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