Occupational determinants for rheumatoid arthritis

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2000 Jun;26(3):243-9. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.538.


Objectives: The aim of the present study was to evaluate possible occupational determinants for rheumatoid arthritis according to lifetime occupational history.

Methods: The cases were identified retrospectively from 1980 to 1995 at the University Hospital in Linköping, Sweden. The study comprised 422 cases and 859 randomly selected referents. Exposure data were collected through a postal questionnaire.

Results: For men, occupations with increased, although nonsignificant, odds ratios (OR) were farmers or farm workers [OR 1.8, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.0-3.5], textile workers (OR 2.0, 95% CI 0.3-16.2), asphalters (OR 14.0, 95% CI 1.2-799.0 without latency requirement), and employees at service stations (OR 2.2, 95% CI 0.5-9.5). Among the women, hairdressers and beauticians (OR 2.7, 95% CI 0.8-8.6) had an increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis, as well as those exposed to hairdressing chemicals (OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.0-9.4) and meat products (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.0-4.0).

Conclusions: Several of the findings in this study are in accordance with those of previous studies. The increased risks of rheumatoid arthritis for asphalters and employees at service stations are however new associations previously not described in the literature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agriculture / statistics & numerical data
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons / adverse effects
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupations
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Hydrocarbons
  • asphalt