Most reporting on-the-job silica exposure are men, a study finds - by Margarida Maia, PhD
Exposure to silica, a mineral used to make building materials, at work is associated with younger age at diagnosis, more severe disease, and reduced survival in people with systemic sclerosis (SSc), according to a study of more than 1,000 patients in Canada and Mexico.
Also, those reporting on-the-job silica exposure were nearly eight times more likely to be men than women. Exposed male patients were more likely to be Caucasian, smokers, and to have more severe lung disease, while exposed female patients were younger at SSc diagnosis relative to those unexposed.
“Screening for silica exposure among higher risk individuals may be beneficial,” the researchers wrote, adding that “these patients may require closer monitoring for systemic disease.”
The study, “Exposure to silica and systemic sclerosis: A retrospective cohort study based on the Canadian Scleroderma Research Group,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine.
Systemic sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by the accumulation of scar tissue in the skin and several internal organs such as the heart, kidney, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract.
While its underlying causes remain largely unclear, long-term exposure to certain environmental toxins or chemicals are thought to contribute to the disease. Previous studies in Italy and Denmark showed that on-the-job exposure to silica increases the risk of developing SSc and its more severe form, diffuse SSc. Continue Reading...
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