What role do occupational exposures play in RA?
Occupational exposure to various chemicals, minerals, and toxins may increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Relationships between silica exposure and lung, renal, and autoimmune disease have been observed. Although a relationship between silica exposure and RA has been identified, it is not well defined. The evidence indicating that cigarette smoking is an independent risk factor for RA is conclusive. Agents that may be capable of inducing experimental arthritis in animals include adjuvants from bacteria, yeast, viruses, and mineral oils. In a Swedish study, exposure to any mineral oil was associated with a 30% increased relative risk of RA. (J Musculoskel Med. 2008;25:130-136)