The risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis may be much higher than average for textile workers, new research suggests.
Researchers from Malaysia’s Institute for Medical Research and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden studied 1,820 Malaysian women and asked if they’d ever worked in the textile industry and been exposed to textile dust.
Half the women studied had early-stage rheumatoid arthritis while the other 50% were free of the disease.
Nearly three times as many with rheumatoid arthritis (4.5%) said they’d been exposed to textile dust compared to those who hadn’t been diagnosed with the disease (1.7%).
Call for public health action
Those who’d worked in textiles and been exposed to silica dust and other chemicals were also more than twice as likely to test positive for ACPA antibodies that quicken the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, the researchers say.
The research team says its findings suggest that measures designed to cut exposure to textile dust in the workplace should be considered by public health authorities.
The study is published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Source: Arthritis Research UK
Date Published: February 4, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown