Scientists have discovered that occupational exposure to motor oil can significantly increase the chances that a person will develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A team of researchers announced that, according to the results of their study, mineral oils (specifically, hydraulic and motor oils) appear to be linked to a particularly high risk of 2 kinds of RA.
The study polled 1400 RA patients diagnosed between 1996 and 2003 about occupational exposure to certain chemicals. Those who reported exposure to the oils, all men, had a 30% higher risk of developing a severe form of RA known as "rheumatoid factor positive," and 60% more likely to develop anti-citrulline positive RA, than those who were not exposed to the oils.
Although it is still unclear as to how the oil may have affected the development of RA, the researchers note that the findings correlate with previous testing that showed that the oils induced RA in rats. Further study could help define whether other agentssuch as occupational chemicals, bacteria, or virusesalso play a role in triggering RA, the researchers said. Their work was published in Arthritis Research and Therapy (September 23, 2005).