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Potential occupational and environmental factors in SSc onset

Irena Walecka 1  ,  
Dermatology Department, Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, Warsaw, Poland
Introduction and objective. Systemic sclerosis [SSc; scleroderma] is a rare, connective tissue disorder affecting all organs and systems. The primary feature of this disease is a chronic, progressive fibrosis due to excessive production of collagen and other components. There are two subsets of systemic sclerosis: 1) diffused SSc (dSSc), 2) limited SSc (lSSc) and 3) scleroderma without sclerosis (SSSC). The presented review is an attempt to summarize recent data regarding environmental and occupational factors in SSc onset.

State of knowledge:
There are many factors to be taken under consideration with SSc onset, although a strong correlation has been established for only a few. The most distinct factors are: crystalline silica and organic solvents (such as white spirit, aromatic, aliphatic-chain, chlorinated solvents, ketones, welding fumes). For other factors, which include abstestos, air pollution, other chemicals, silicone breast implants, tobacco smoking, drug reactions, diet influence and exposure to heavy metals, the jury is still out, and their position in SSc onset needs further studies.


Conclusions. Although the pathogenesis of scleroderma remains unclear, there is a marked correlation between the onset of SSc and certain environmental or occupational factors.

Irena Walecka   
Dermatology Department, Central Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, Warsaw, Poland
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