Background: Associations between occupations and neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) may be discernable in death certificate data.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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).
Conclusions: Support was observed for hypothesized excess neurodegenerative disease associated with a variety of occupations, 60 Hz magnetic fields and welding.
Published 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.