Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Exposure to Environmental Toxins: An Australian Case-Control Study

It has been suggested that environmental toxins could be risk factors for sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS). We therefore analysed epidemiological data on 179 SALS cases and 179 age-, ethnicity- and sex-matched controls in Australia using self-reporting questionnaires.

 SALS was associated with solvent/chemical exposure (OR = 1.92, 95% CI: 1.26-2.93), overall herbicide/pesticide exposure (OR = 1.57, 95% CI: 1.03-2.41) and industrial herbicide/pesticide exposure (OR = 5.58, 95% CI: 2.07-15.06). Exposure to herbicides/pesticides showed a dose-response effect. All positive findings were more statistically significant in males.

These findings support those from northern hemisphere studies, indicating that environmental toxins can be risk factors for SALS.