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Am J Ind Med. 2005 Jul;48(1):63-77.

Potential occupational risks for neurodegenerative diseases.

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Education and Information Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, MS C-15, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA.



Associations between occupations and neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) may be discernable in death certificate data.


Hypotheses generated from 1982 to 1991 study were tested in data from 22 states for the years 1992-1998. Specific occupations and exposures to pesticides, solvents, oxidative stressors, magnetic fields, and welding fumes were evaluated.


About one third (26/87) of the occupations hypothesized with neurodegenerative associations had statistically significant elevated mortality odds ratios (MOR) for the same outcome. Occupations with the largest MORs were (a) for presenile dementia (PSD)-dentists, graders/sorters (non-agricultural), and clergy; (b) for Alzheimer's disease (AD)-bank tellers, clergy, aircraft mechanics, and hairdressers; (c) for Parkinson's disease (PD)-biological scientists, clergy, religious workers, and post-secondary teachers; and (d) for motor neuron disease (MND)-veterinarians, hairdressers, and graders and sorters (non-agricultural). Teachers had significantly elevated MORs for all four diseases, and hairdressers for three of the four. Non-horticultural farmers below age 65 had elevated PD (MOR = 2.23, 95% CI = 1.47-3.26), PSD (MOR = 2.22, 95% CI = 1.10-4.05), and AD (MOR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.04-2.81). Sixty hertz magnetic fields exhibited significant exposure-response for AD and, below age 65, for PD (MOR = 1.87, 95% CI = 1.14-2.98) and MND (MOR = 1.63, 95% CI = 1.10-2.39). Welding had elevated PD mortality below age 65 (MOR = 1.77, 95% CI = 1.08-2.75).


Support was observed for hypothesized excess neurodegenerative disease associated with a variety of occupations, 60 Hz magnetic fields and welding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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