Daily News Archive
From December 23, 2004

Insecticides Linked to Inflammatory Disease
(Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2004) A recent study of sarcoidosis patients found strong associations between the disease and occupational exposures to insecticides. Sarcoidosis is an illness in which abnormal clusters of inflammatory cells called granulomas form in many organs of the body, especially the lungs. In those organs, inflammation can lead to scarring and cyst formation, and can potentially be fatal. Little is know about the cause of the disease.

The study appears in the second issue for December 2004 of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The investigators, Anthony Newman Taylor and Paul Cullinan, studied 706 newly diagnosed sarcoidosis patients, together with an equal number of age, race, and sex-matched control subjects. The goal of the study was to understand what environmental and occupational exposures were associated with the disease.

Researchers found strong positive associations between the disease sarcoidosis and occupational exposure to insecticides in both agricultural and industrial settings, as well as with occupational exposure to "moldy" and "musty" environments. The authors noted that one of the strongest positive associations in the study was for occupational exposure to insecticides at any time before participation in the study, particularly in the 3 years preceding diagnosis. They point out that agricultural workers encounter high levels of exposure to chemicals and aerosolized particulates, including grains, bedding materials, silicates, animal proteins, insect proteins, fungi, bacteria, mycotoxins, and endotoxins.

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