New study sees link between pesticide and arthritis

By Grace van Deelen

Exposure to a commonly used pesticide could put people at higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new study.

The findings, published last week in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, looked at potential links between the disease and a class of chemicals known as pyrethroids, which are found in many commercial products used to control insects, including household bug killers, pet sprays and shampoos.

Using data collected as part of a long-term study of US residents called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the research team said they looked at levels of pyrethroids found in urine samples of the more than 4,000 study participants and analyzed how the exposure correlated with incidences of the disease.

The research team, which was led by scientists from Anhui Medical University in Hefei, China, concluded that levels of pyrethroid indicators in the urine of those who had self-reported a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis were “significantly higher” than those who had not reported the diagnosis.