Occupational exposures and risk of dementia-related mortality in the prospective Netherlands Cohort Study

Am J Ind Med. 2015 Jun;58(6):625-35. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22462. Epub 2015 May 5.


Background: Occupational exposures may be associated with non-vascular dementia.

Methods: We analyzed the effects of occupational exposures to solvents, pesticides, metals, extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF), electrical shocks, and diesel motor exhaust on non-vascular dementia related mortality in the Netherlands Cohort Study (NLCS). Exposures were assigned using job-exposure matrices. After 17.3 years of follow-up, 682 male and 870 female cases were available. Analyses were performed using Cox regression.

Results: Occupational exposure to metals, chlorinated solvents and ELF-MF showed positive associations with non-vascular dementia among men, which seemed driven by metals (hazard ratio ever high vs. background exposure: 1.35 [0.98-1.86]). Pesticide exposure showed statistically significant, inverse associations with non-vascular dementia among men. We found no associations for shocks, aromatic solvents, and diesel motor exhaust.

Conclusions: Consistent positive associations were found between occupational exposure to metals and non-vascular dementia. The finding on pesticides is not supported in the overall literature.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; cohort; dementia; diesel motor exhaust; extremely low frequency magnetic fields; metals; occupation; pesticides; solvents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cause of Death
  • Dementia / chemically induced
  • Dementia / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Fields / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Metals / toxicity
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Solvents / toxicity
  • Vehicle Emissions / toxicity


  • Metals
  • Pesticides
  • Solvents
  • Vehicle Emissions