Exposure to hazardous chemicals in occupational settings may increase workers’ likelihood of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, according to a study cited in HealthDay. Individuals who work in manufacturing, welding and chemical operations reportedly are at higher risk, particularly those with exposure to metals such as with iron and welding fumes, say researchers from the ALS Center of Excellence at University of Michigan.
According to the article, people in jobs with higher metal exposure are often exposed to mixtures that can include silica and volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde. Some workers reportedly may have been exposed without their knowledge. ALS, which affects approximately five to ten in 100,000 Americans, is a progressive, fatal disease that begins with muscle weakness, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing.