China’s Female Suicide Mystery

From the Daily Beast:

In many rural Chinese homes, a jar of pesticide—often a variety banned in Western countries—sits in the family outhouse. Even after harvest, farmers are loathe to throw out the remainder. Despite Chinese President Hu Jintao’s promise to create a “harmonious society” by improving people’s livelihood and reducing the gap between wealthy cities and the impoverished countryside, surviving in China’s rural areas still requires thrift.

But the pesticide that ensures an abundant crop all too often reaps sorrow.

Chinese women pride themselves on their ability to “eat bitterness,” or put up with sadness and stress. But every woman has her breaking point.

Pesticide ingestion is involved in 60 percent of Chinese suicides, according to the World Health Organization, which published a 2009 report suggesting a link between exposure to organophosphate pesticides, the type commonly used in China, and suicidal thoughts.

Rural Chinese women—with their easy access to toxic pesticides, social isolation, and unique burden of feudal obligations and modern stresses—have been particularly susceptible.

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