Cleaners face increased risk of multiple sclerosis, says study

23rd of July 2018
Cleaners face increased risk of multiple sclerosis, says study

Cleaners, beauticians, decorators and anyone coming into contact with potent solvents in paint thinners and cleaning chemicals are 50 per cent more likely more likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study has found.

The risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease is seven times higher in people who work with solvents and have a family history of it, according to research published in the journal Neurology. It is 30 times higher when smoking is added to the list of factors.

This suggests that constant lung irritation might be activating the immune system in a way that makes it more likely to trigger MS, a disease where immune cells malfunction and attack the body's nerves.

"It's possible that exposure to solvents and smoking may both involve lung inflammation and irritation that leads to an immune reaction in the lungs," said the study's author Dr Anna Hedström from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

"These are significant interactions where the factors have a much greater effect in combination than they do on their own," she added.

Dr Hedström's team looked at the health records of 5,000 people, including 2,042 who had recently been diagnosed with MS.

They were asked about their exposure to organic solvents which are chemicals common in paints and thinners, varnish, nail polish, glues and cleaning products, as well as their smoking history.



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