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Photocopier exposure and risk of sarcoidosis in African-American sibs.

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Department of Biostatistics and Research Epidemiology, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.



In a family study of sarcoidosis in African-Americans, we detected a positive association between sarcoidosis and ever working in a sales or clerical occupation. This finding, and case reports of granulomatous lung disease in patients with photocopier toner dust exposure, led us to hypothesize that sarcoidosis risk may increase as a result of photocopier exposure.


Retrospective data on photocopier use and maintenance were collected from African-American sarcoidosis cases and their first degree relatives. The study sample consisted of 181 African-American sibships where one or more members had a history of sarcoidosis (n = 540).


Sarcoidosis was statistically significantly associated with ever using a photocopier (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.74, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.23-2.46), and ever changing photocopier toner or carrying out photocopier maintenance (OR = 2.88, 95% CI 1.83-4.54). In a conditional logistic regression model that adjusted for age and sex, the OR associated with a sarcoidosis history and being in the highest tertile of photocopier exposure ranged from 1.83 to 2.19 depending on the exposure measure used.


These results suggest that photocopier toner dust may be a previously unrecognized antigen in the pathophysiology of some patients diagnosed with sarcoidosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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