Researchers try to blame self-reported arthritis in old women on air quality.
USA Today reports,
Exposure to certain types of air pollution is associated with an increased risk for the painful joint disease known as rheumatoid arthritis, new research suggests.
This link is strongest for sulfur dioxide, one of the six most common air pollutants in the United States, according to the findings from two studies scheduled to be presented Wednesday at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, in Chicago.
In the studies, investigators looked at 2,092 rheumatoid arthritis patients and more than 93,000 people without the disease in the United States and Sweden, and used their home addresses to estimate their long-term exposure to several common air pollutants, both gaseous (for example, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide) and particulate (soot or dust).
There was no evidence of increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis associated with particulate air pollution. But increasing exposure to sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen in the 10 and 20 years prior to onset of rheumatoid arthritis was associated with increased risk of the disease among the Swedish participants, the investigators found.
The article goes on to say,
The U.S. study found that only exposure to sulfur dioxide was associated with modest increases in rheumatoid arthritis risk. Those with a high exposure to sulfur dioxide had a 5 percent greater risk of rheumatoid arthritis than those with low exposure.
So this study reports a relative risk of 1.05 — even if it is statistically significant, it’s still weak association junk science.
The Nurses Health Study is an aging cohort (now aged 65-90), the health data was self-reported (not validated) and exposure to air pollutants is not known.