Occupational silica exposure in an Australian systemic sclerosis cohort.

To determine the frequency of self-reported occupational exposure to silica in SSc patients enrolled in the Australian Scleroderma Cohort Study, and to compare the disease characteristics of the silica-exposed patients with those of the non-exposed patients.Data collected over a 12-year period from 1670 SSc patients were analysed. We compared the demographic and clinical characteristics of those who reported occupational silica exposure with those who did not. A subgroup analysis of male patients was performed, as well as a multivariable analysis of correlates of silica exposure.Overall, 126 (7.5%) of the cohort reported occupational silica exposure. These individuals were more likely to be male (73 of 231, i.e. 31.6% males exposed) and to have worked in mining and construction industries. Those who reported silica exposure were younger at the onset of SSc skin involvement [odds ratio (OR) 0.9, P = 0.02], of male gender (OR 14.9, P 

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