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Causes of Scleroderma: Solvents

Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Paint Thinners and Removers

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Case Reports
Scleroderma and Camp LeJeune
Patient Stories

Overview of Solvents and Scleroderma

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Occupational or environmental exposure to solvents and cleaning products, including trichloroethylene, benzene, paint thinners and paint removers are known causes of scleroderma.

Scleroderma is a rare disease that predominantly affects women. When it occurs in men, it is usually more aggressive, and most commonly caused by environmental or occupational exposures. (Also see What is Scleroderma?, Gender and Scleroderma, and Causes of Scleroderma)

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) and exposure to heavy metals. These latter findings interestingly underscore that occupational exposure to heavy metals should be systematically checked in all SSc patients at diagnosis. PubMed, Autoimmun Rev, 2019 Jan;18(1):62-72. (Also see Mercury 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)

Household cleaning products as bad for lung function as smoking, study finds. In a new report women who worked as cleaners or regularly use cleaning sprays for 20 years were found to have lung decline equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day over the same period. The Telegraph, 02/15/2018.

A Message to the Kahnawake Mohawk Nation Re:Scleroderma Epidemic at Kahnawake. It is clear that the people of Kahnawake have been exposed to solvents from local industry and from dump sites. It is clear that there is much Scleroderma at Kahnawake. The high rate of Scleroderma must be investigated at Kahnawake and perhaps, Akwesasne. John H.W. Hummell. (Also see Causes of Scleroderma: Clusters and Kahnawake Scleroderma Support Group)

Case Reports

(Case Reports) Epidemiology of organic solvents and connective tissue disease. Case reports suggest that solvents are associated with various connective tissue diseases (systemic sclerosis, scleroderma, undifferentiated connective tissue disease, systemic lupus erythematosis, and rheumatoid arthritis), particularly systemic sclerosis. Arthritis Res.

(Case Report) Conjugal progressive systemic sclerosis. We report here a case of systemic sclerosis in a wife and husband who both developed the onset of illness within a 10-year period. Solvent exposure was noted. PubMed, Rev Med Interne.

(Case Report) A 63-year-old man developed generalized scleroderma four years after being diagnosed with porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT). He had almost daily exposure to organic solvents (benzene, trichlorethylene) for many years. Using a medium dosage of UVA1 phototherapy and intensive physiotherapy, the progression of the skin disease was stopped and the sclerosis improved. PubMed, Hautarzt. (Also see Diseases Similar to Scleroderma)

(Case Report) Amyloid deposition associated with generalized morphea-like scleroderma. (The patient) had been occupationally exposed to organic solvents. As far as we know, amyloid deposition associated with generalized morphea-like scleroderma has not been reported until now. PubMed, Eur J Dermatol. (Also see Morphea)

Scleroderma and Camp LeJeune Exposures

Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) can onset long after exposure to an environmental exposure. To complicate matters, it typically takes many years, sometimes decades, for scleroderma to be properly diagnosed. Typically there is an increased incidence of various cancers and scleroderma with widespread trichloroethylene exposure.

Camp Lejeune water contamination. The Janey Ensminger Act of 2012 applies to cancer of the esophagus, lung, breast, bladder or kidney; leukemia; multiple myeloma; myleodysplasic syndromes; renal toxicity; hepatic steatosis; female infertility; miscarriage; scleroderma; and/or neurobehavioral effects or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The Department of Veterans Affairs is assigned by the bill to provide the medical care. Wikipedia.

Patient Stories

Brenda M: Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC), Fibromyalgia, Pulmonary Fibrosis, and Sjogren's Syndrome In 1965, when I was twenty-six, I went to work for a firm of electro-platers, which was mainly aircraft work…

Go to Causes of Scleroderma: Vaccinations

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