Renee-Marie Ragguett, Danielle S. Cha, Mehala Subramaniapillai, Nicole E. Carmona, Yena Lee, Duanduan Yuan, Carola Rong, Roger S. McIntyre
September 15, 2017
Objective: Risk factors for suicide can be broadly categorized as sociodemographic, clinical and treatment. There is interest in environmental risk and protection factors for suicide. Emerging evidence suggests a link between environmental factors in the form of air pollution and aeroallergens in relation to suicidality. Methods: Herein, we conducted a systematic review of 15 articles which have met inclusion criteria on the aforementioned effects. Results: The majority of the reviewed articles reported an increased suicide risk alongside increased air pollutants or aeroallergens (i.e. pollen) increase; however, not all environmental factors were explored equally. In specific, studies that were delimited to evaluating particulate matter (PM) reported a consistent association with suicidality. We also provide a brief description of putative mechanisms (e.g. inflammation and neurotransmitter dysregulation) that may mediate the association between air pollution, aeroallergens and suicidality. Conclusion: Available evidence suggests that exposure to harmful air quality may be associated with suicidality. There are significant public health implications which are amplified in regions and countries with greater levels of air pollution and aeroallergens. In addition, those with atopic sensitivity may represent a specific subgroup that is at risk.