Occupational exposure to mineral turpentine and heavy fuels: a possible risk factor for Alzheimer's disease

Dement Geriatr Cogn Dis Extra. 2014 Jun 5;4(2):160-71. doi: 10.1159/000362382. eCollection 2014 May.


Background: The association between solvents and Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been the subject of several studies. Yet, only few studies have examined the various solvents separately, and the controls have rarely been monitored long enough. For these reasons and others, we believe that further studies are required.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to identify solvents associated with the clinicoradiological diagnostic of AD or mixed-type dementia (MD).

Methods: A retrospective case-control study was performed in 156 patients followed up at the Memory Diagnostic Center of Bertinot Juel Hospital (France). The inclusion criteria were known occupation(s), a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score ≥10 at the first visit, a neuropsychological evaluation performed and a diagnosis established in our Memory Diagnostic Center. The diagnostics were crossed with 9 solvents belonging to two classes of solvents. Exposure was evaluated using French national job-exposure matrices.

Results: Certain petroleum-based solvents and fuels (i.e. mineral turpentine, diesel fuel, fuel oil and kerosene) were associated with a diagnosis of AD or MD. This association was still significant after adjustment for age, sex and education (adjusted OR: 6.5; 95% CI: 2-20).

Conclusion: Occupational exposure to mineral turpentine and heavy fuels may be a risk factor for AD and MD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Heavy fuels; Mineral turpentine; Risk factors.