Causes of Scleroderma: Silica
Diseases Caused by Silica
Silica Materials
Silica and Scleroderma
Occupational Exposure

Causes of Scleroderma: Silica Occupational Exposure

South Africa
United States


Mask by Shelley EnszOccupational exposure to silica is a known cause of scleroderma. It is legally recognized as an occupational disease in many countries, including the United States. Scleroderma predominantly affects women. A striking finding is that when scleroderma occurs in men, it is often due to occupational exposure, such as to silica. (Also see Silica Exposure and What is Scleroderma?)

Canada: Listed Occupational Disease

Interim Report to the Workers' Compensation Board on Scleroderma. The repeated occurrence of a very rare disease, at least three times more common in women, in males occupationally exposed to silica is suggestive of a causal association. What is striking in the literature on scleroderma reviewed for this report is the repetition of the association between this disease and an occupational history of exposure to free silica and/or vibratory tools. Industrial Disease Standards Panel (ODP), IDSP Report of Findings No. 8, Toronto, Ontario.

France: Listed Occupational Disease

Silica-associated limited systemic sclerosis after occupational exposure to calcined diatomaceous earth. 52-year-old male winegrower who had a combination of Raynaud's phenomenon, oesophageal dysfunction, sclerodactyly and telangectasia. The patient's disease met the medical, administrative and occupational criteria given in the occupational diseases list 22 bis of the agriculture French Social Security scheme and thence was presumed to be occupational in origin, without need to be proved. Joint Bone Spine .

Germany: Listed Occupational Disease

"Scleroderma was recognized as an occupational disease in the former German Democratic Republic. Its status after reunification is unclear. Dr. U. Haustein of Karl Marx University, Leipzig, has described the adjudication process as case-by-case (19). Each patient is discussed by a committee of experts (Obergutachtenkommission). Careful consideration is given to all facts such as occupational exposure time to silica, working conditions, interval until the manifestation of the disease, association with silicosis, etc.

South Africa: Listed Occupational Disease

"In South Africa, scleroderma is mentioned in the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act (78 of 1973). This act originated in 1911 and was aimed at improving working conditions in all South African mines. Many aspects of the Act relate to "risk work" and "compensatable disease". Risk work, in practice, is all work below the natural surface of the earth and certain surface operations (work in crusher houses, reduction plants, and on slime dams)."

United States: Listed Occupational Disease

Scleroderma from silica is listed as a an occupational disease, recognized by the U.S. Worker's Compensation Bureau guidelines.

Silicone and scleroderma revisited. This review describes the mechanisms by which silicone may mediate autoimmunity in general, as well as the evidence for causal associations with more specific autoimmune syndromes in general, and scleroderma in particular. Lupus.

Research about Scleroderma and Silica Occupational Exposure

Potential occupational and environmental factors in scleroderma (SSc) onset. Although the pathogenesis of scleroderma remains unclear, there is a marked correlation between the onset of SSc and certain environmental or occupational factors. PubMed, Ann Agric Environ Med, 2018 Dec 19;25(4):596-601. (Also see Causes of Scleroderma: Solvents)

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