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'Motor Oil Raises Arthritis Risk'

Sep 23, 2005 |

Exposure to motor oil and similar substances in the workplace increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by 30%, research has suggested.

A study in Sweden examined the influence of occupational exposure to mineral oils, such as hydraulic or motor oil, in raising the risk of arthritis.

The researchers, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, started by looking at a group of patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between May 1996 and December 2003.

Shortly after they were diagnosed, the patients were asked to complete a questionnaire about their exposure to different types of mineral oils, including asphalt and engine oil.

A control group without arthritis was also asked to complete a questionnaire.

The study, published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, included 1,419 people with arthritis and 1,674 in the control group.

The researchers found that only men reported high levels of occupational exposure to oil - mostly motor and hydraulic oil. They then focused on a smaller group of 135 men with arthritis who reported high exposure to oil and a matching group of 132 controls.

Researcher Berit Sverdrup and colleagues said: "According to the results of this study, males exposed to various mineral oils in their profession appear to have an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis."

They estimated that men who have a high exposure to motor or hydraulic oil had a 30% higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared to men who were not exposed to the oils.

They found that exposure to oil only increased the risk of the men developing rheumatoid factor positive (RF+) rheumatoid arthritis, a more severe form of the condition.

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