Date Published: January 5, 2010
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): David M. Studdert, Lyle C. Gurrin, Uma Jatkar, Jane Pirkis, Rachel Jenkins
Abstract: In an ecological study, David Studdert and colleagues show that areas of Australia with fewer vehicles pre-dating stringent carbon monoxide emission laws have lower rates of suicide due to asphyxiation by motor vehicle exhaust gas.
Partial Text: In 2004, suicide accounted for an estimated 1.4% of deaths and 1.9% of years of life lost worldwide; among persons aged between 15 and 44 y, those figures were 5.2% and 5.5%, respectively . While suicide rates continue to rise globally, Australia, which has long had one of the highest rates of suicide among developed countries, has experienced a remarkable decline in recent years.
This study found a strong positive association between the area-level prevalence of older cars and rates of suicide by MVEG in Australia. In 1986 and 1997–99, new environmental laws took effect in Australia requiring all passenger vehicles sold to emit substantially lower levels of CO than had previously been permissible. Because the mandates applied to new cars, their impact took time to penetrate the national fleet, and the speed with which the newer, safer cars replaced older, noxious ones varied across communities.