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Asbest leidt tot auto-immuunziekten

15-08-2006 00:00

Amerikaanse onderzoekers hebben een relatie gevonden tussen blootstelling aan asbest en bepaalde huidziektes en reuma. Zij bestudeerden 7307 huidige en voormalige inwoners van het voormalige mijnstadje Libby in Montana, waar in de mijnen met asbest vervuild vermiculiet werd gewonnen. Inmiddels zijn al 1500 mensen ziek geworden. De onderzoekers constateerden dat oudere (ex-)mijnwerkers drie keer zoveel risico hebben op het krijgen van reuma en twee keer zoveel kans op auto-immuunziekten in het algemeen. Ook inwoners van Libby die niet in de mijnen hadden gewerkt, maar in het leger aan asbest waren blootgesteld, hadden een verhoogd risico op auto-immuunziekten. Meer onderzoek is nodig. Bron: Noonan, C.W. (2006). Nested case-control study of autoimmune disease in an asbestos-exposed population. Environ Health Perspective Aug.114(8):1243-7.
Noonan CW, Pfau JC, Larson TC, Spence MR., (2006). Nested case-control study of autoimmune disease in an asbestos-exposed population. Environ Health Perspective Aug.114(8):1243-7.

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE:
To explore the potential association between asbestos exposure and risk of autoimmune disease, we conducted a case-control study among a cohort of 7,307 current and former residents of Libby, Montana, a community with historical occupational and environmental exposure to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite. METHODS: Cases were defined as those who reported having one of three systemic autoimmune diseases (SAIDs): systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Controls were randomly selected at a 3:1 ratio from among the remaining 6,813 screening participants using frequency-matched age and sex groupings. RESULTS: The odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for SAIDs among those >or=65 years of age who had worked for the vermiculite mining company were 2.14 (95% CI, 0.90-5.10) for all SAIDs and 3.23 (95% CI, 1.31-7.96) for RA. In this age group, exposure to asbestos while in the military was also an independent risk factor, resulting in a tripling in risk. Other measures of occupational exposure to vermiculite indicated 54% and 65% increased risk for SAIDs and RA, respectively. Those who had reported frequent contact with vermiculite through various exposure pathways also demonstrated elevated risk for SAIDs and RA. We found increasing risk estimates for SAIDs with increasing numbers of reported vermiculite exposure pathways (p<0.001). CONCLUSION: These preliminary findings support the hypothesis that asbestos exposure is associated with autoimmune disease. Refined measurements of asbestos exposure and SAID status among this cohort will help to further clarify the relationship between these variables.