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Original research
Self-reported psychological distress and self-perceived health in residents living near pesticide-treated agricultural land: a cross-sectional study in The Netherlands
  1. Mariana Simoes1,
  2. Anke Huss1,
  3. Nicole Janssen2,
  4. Roel Vermeulen1,3
  1. 1Department of Population Health Sciences, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Centre for Sustainability, Environment and Health, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Mariana Simoes, Department of Population Health Sciences, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; m.simoes{at}uu.nl

Abstract

Objectives There is rising concern regarding possible health effects from exposure to pesticides in residents living near agricultural land. Some studies indicated increased risks of reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression among agricultural workers but less is known about the mental and perceived health of rural residents. We aimed to study possible associations between self-reported psychological distress (SPD) and self-perceived health (SPH) in residents near pesticide-treated agricultural land.

Methods Using the Public Health Monitor national survey from 2012, we selected 216 932 participants who lived in rural and semi-urban areas of the Netherlands and changed addresses at most once in the period 2009–2012. Psychological distress (PD) was assessed via the Kessler Psychological Distress scale (K10) and participants were asked to assess their own health. We estimated the area of specific crop groups cultivated within buffers of 50 m, 100 m, 250 m and 500 m around each individual’s residence for the period 2009–2012. Association between these exposure proxies and the outcomes was investigated using logistic regression, adjusting for individual, lifestyle and area-level confounders.

Results Overall, results showed statistically non-significant OR across all buffer sizes for both SPD and SPH, except for the association between SPH and ‘all crops’ (total area of all considered crop groups) with OR (95% CI) ranging from 0.77 (0.63 to 0.93) in 50 m to 1.00 (1.00 to 1.00) in 500 m. We observed that most ORs were below unity for SPH.

Conclusions This study provides no evidence that residential proximity to pesticide treated-crops is associated with PD or poorer perceived health.

  • pesticides
  • agriculture
  • mental health
  • cross-sectional studies

Data availability statement

The datasets on buildings and addresses (Basisregistratie Adressen en Gebouwen, BAG) on land use (Basisregistratie Gewaspercelen) were derived from the public domain. These geodatabases are available every year at https://data.overheid.nl/dataset/basisregistratie-adressen-en-gebouwen--bag- and http://www.nationaalgeoregister.nl/geonetwork/srv/dut/catalog.search%23/metadata/b812a145-b4fe-4331-8dc6-d914327a87ff.Data on participants, including outcome and individual covariates included in the statistical models, cannot be made publicly available due to privacy protection of individuals included the study. The data are accessible via de Microdata services from CBS. https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/our-services/customised-services-microdata/microdata-conducting-your-own-research. Neighborhood-level covariates were also available within the secure environment of CBS and linkable to individuals via their address.

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Data availability statement

The datasets on buildings and addresses (Basisregistratie Adressen en Gebouwen, BAG) on land use (Basisregistratie Gewaspercelen) were derived from the public domain. These geodatabases are available every year at https://data.overheid.nl/dataset/basisregistratie-adressen-en-gebouwen--bag- and http://www.nationaalgeoregister.nl/geonetwork/srv/dut/catalog.search%23/metadata/b812a145-b4fe-4331-8dc6-d914327a87ff.Data on participants, including outcome and individual covariates included in the statistical models, cannot be made publicly available due to privacy protection of individuals included the study. The data are accessible via de Microdata services from CBS. https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/our-services/customised-services-microdata/microdata-conducting-your-own-research. Neighborhood-level covariates were also available within the secure environment of CBS and linkable to individuals via their address.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors MS: conceptualisation, spatial and statistical analyses, writing (original draft). AH: conceptualisation, supervision, writing (review and editing). NJ: conceptualisation, supervision, writing (review and editing). RV: conceptualisation, supervision, writing (review and editing).

  • Funding This work was supported by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), in the context of the Policy Advisory on Plant Protection Products. Grant / Award Number: not applicable.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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