Objective: The primary objective was to determine whether occupational exposure to organic solvents is related to an increased risk of systemic sclerosis (SSc; scleroderma).
Methods: Occupational histories were obtained from 178 SSc patients and 200 controls. Exposure scores were computed for each individual using job exposure matrices, which were validated by an industrial expert.
Results: Among men, those with SSc were more likely than controls to have a high cumulative intensity score (odds ratio [OR] 2.9, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.1-7.6) and a high maximum intensity score (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.2-7.1) for any solvent exposure. They were also more likely than controls to have a high maximum intensity score for trichloroethylene exposure (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.0-10.3). Among men and women, significant solvent-disease associations were observed among SSc patients who tested positive for the anti-Scl-70 autoantibody; these trends were not observed among the men and women who tested negative for anti-Scl-70.
Conclusion: These results provide evidence that occupational solvent exposure may be associated with an increased risk of SSc.