Causes of Scleroderma: Environmental

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Artificial Joints/Implants
Air Pollution
Environmental Toxins
Mercury (Amalgam)
Vinyl Chloride Disease

Overview of Environmental Causes of Systemic Sclerosis

Topics covered include exposure to cadmium, mercury (dental amalgam), solvents (such as paint thinners), radiation, and silica as either known or suspected causes of autoimmune diseases or scleroderma. (Also see Causes of Scleroderma, What is Scleroderma?, Types of Scleroderma, and Systemic Sclerosis)

Requirements for innate immune pathways in environmentally induced autoimmunity. These findings from several environmentally induced models suggest that environmental triggers can induce autoimmunity through diverse innate pathways. BMC Medicine 2013, 11:100. (Also see Causes of Scleroderma: Environmental)

Artificial Joints and Silicone Breast Implants

Causes of Scleroderma: Artificial Joints and Silicone Breast Implants. Are some cases of connective tissue disease, such as scleroderma, related to artificial joints or silicone breast implants? ISN.

Device Implantation Research Personal Stories Related to Implants


Asbestos exposure is a possible cause of scleroderma.

The worldwide pandemic of asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos-related diseases are still a major public health problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 107,000 people worldwide die each year from mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Annu Rev Public Health, 2013;34:205-16.

Fight Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma has only one cause: asbestos. We will help you explore your legal options if your health has been affected by asbestos exposure. The Law Firm of Baron and Budd.

Air Pollution

Air Pollution Kills More Than 5 Million People Around the World Every Year. More than 5.5 million people die annually due to both outdoor and household air pollution, according to new research. Times Healthland, 02/12/2016.

Fine particulate air pollution, nitrogen dioxide, and systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease in Calgary, Alberta. Exposure to fine particulate matter was associated with an increased risk of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARDs). PubMed, Environ Res, 2015 Jul;140:474-8.

Drugs and Medications

Causes of Scleroderma: Drugs and Medications Some medications and street drugs are known or thought to induce scleroderma or Raynaud's, such as Bleomycin, Cocaine, Marijuana, and Paclitaxel (Taxanes). ISN.

5HTP w/ Carbidopa
Bleomycin-Induced Scleroderma
Chemotherapy-induced Scleroderma
Cocaine-Induced Scleroderma
Collagen and Liquid Silicone Injections
Interferon Alpha
Marijuana and Raynaud's
Paclitaxel (Taxanes)

Environmental Toxins

A Potential Link between Environmental Triggers and Autoimmunity. It appears that there are common mechanisms in the immunopathogenesis of multiple autoimmune reactivities. In genetically susceptible individuals, environmental triggers such as xenobiotics and P. gingivalis can, respectively, induce the formation of neoantigens, or be capable of inducing the citrullination of host proteins and converting them to autoantigens. Autoimmune Diseases, Volume 2014, Article ID 437231.

Phyllis C: Scleroderma How many new cases are coming up now from people that were at the World Trade Center? I was there along with co-workers that are very ill now…


Causes of Scleroderma: Infections Researchers have long suspected an infection component may be involved as the trigger of some cases of scleroderma. ISN.

Infection (General)
Bacterial Infections
Borrelia Burgdorferi

Persistent Infection Study
Viral Infection

Mercury Exposure (Dental Amalgam)

Causes of Scleroderma: Mercury Exposure (Dental Amalgam) covers recent research indicating that there may be a link between mercury exposure and autoimmune diseases. ISN.

Overview of Mercury Exposure
Dental Amalgam
Media Stories


Radiation and Scleroderma. There is an increased rate of cancer among scleroderma patients. ISN.

What is Radiation?
Immune System and Radiation
What is Scleroderma?
Radiation and Scleroderma
Radiation Complications in Scleroderma
Radiation Port Scleroderma
Personal Stories About Radiation


Silica Exposure. Silica exposure can cause autoimmune diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, and vasculitis. ISN.

Diseases Caused by Silica
Silica Materials
Silica and Scleroderma
Occupational Exposure

Solvents (Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Paint Thinners and Removers)

Causes of Scleroderma: Solvents. Occupational exposure to solvents such as benzene, trichloroethylene, paint thinners and paint removers may be a cause of scleroderma in some cases. ISN.

Case Reports
Scleroderma and Camp LeJeune
Patient Stories


Causes of Scleroderma: Vaccinations. Vaccinations have been suspected as a cause of scleroderma, in a few cases. ISN.

Overview of Vaccinations and Scleroderma
Vaccinations and Autoimmune Disease
Heptatitis B Vaccination and Diffuse Scleroderma
Vaccinations and Morphea Scleroderma

Vinyl Chloride and Vinyl Choride Disease

Causes of Scleroderma: Vinyl Chloride Exposure to vinyl chloride has been found to cause acroosteolysis, angiosarcoma, brain cancer, leukemia, liver disease, Raynaud's, scleroderma, and "vinyl chloride disease". ISN.

Personal Stories Related to Environmental Exposures

Marthie D: CREST Scleroderma I live in a small town, which developed around a chemical and petrochemical industry in this area in South Africa…

Go to Causes of Scleroderma: Fetal Cells
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Reading Voices of Scleroderma Books: Diana Kramer.
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Thanks to UNITED WAY donors of Central New Mexico and Snohomish County!

In Loving Memory

Patricia Ann Black: Marilyn Currier, Shelley Ensz, Richard Howitt, Gerald and Pat Ivanejko, Juno Beach Condo Association, Keith and Rosalyn Miller, and Elaine Wible.
Gayle Hedlin: Daniel and Joann Pepper and Nancy Smithberg.
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