Occupational formaldehyde and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Research paper by Ryan M RM Seals, Marianthi-Anna MA Kioumourtzoglou, Ole O Gredal, Johnni J Hansen, Marc G MG Weisskopf

Indexed on: 07 Jun '17Published on: 07 Jun '17Published in: European Journal of Epidemiology


Prior studies have yielded inconsistent evidence regarding the association between formaldehyde exposure and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We conducted a population case-control study in the Danish National Registries on the relationship between occupationally-derived formaldehyde exposure and ALS. Occupational history was obtained from a comprehensive and prospectively recorded pension database of all paid work in Denmark since 1964, and was linked to a job-exposure matrix to derive individual exposure estimates. Each case was matched to 4 age- and sex-matched population controls alive on the date of the case diagnosis via risk set sampling, and odds ratios and confidence intervals (CI) were calculated via conditional logistic regression, adjusting for potential confounders. There were 3650 incident cases of ALS in the Danish National Patient Register from 1982 to 2009. Among controls, 25% were ever employed in jobs with a positive prevalence of formaldehyde exposure. Exposure to formaldehyde was associated with a 1.3-fold increased rate of ALS (95% CI 1.2-1.4). This study suggests that formaldehyde exposure, or employment in formaldehyde-exposed occupations, is related to the risk of ALS.