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Original research
Occupational exposure to inorganic dust and risk of gout: a population-based study
  1. Valgerdur Sigurdardottir1,2,
  2. Lennart Jacobsson1,
  3. Linus Schiöler3,
  4. Anna Svärd2,
  5. Mats Dehlin1 and
  6. Kjell Toren3
  1. 1 Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, Institute of Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  2. 2 Center for Clinical Research Dalarna, Uppsala University, Falun, Sweden
  3. 3 Occupational and Environmental Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Goteborg, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Valgerdur Sigurdardottir; valgerdur.sigurdardottir{at}


Background Risk factors operating independently of hyperuricemia could be of importance in determining why only a minority of people with hyperuricemia develop gout. Exposure to inorganic dust has been linked to other inflammatory diseases and could influence the development of gout.

Objectives To evaluate if occupational exposure to inorganic dust increases the risk of gout.

Methods Individuals aged 30–65 years with a first gout diagnosis in 2006–2012 in the population-based healthcare database of the Western Swedish Healthcare Region (VEGA) and population controls matched by age and sex were included. Data on occupation was collected from the Swedish occupational register. Exposure status was assigned by means of a job exposure matrix. Data on gout-related comorbidities was collected from VEGA. Alcohol use disorder and obesity were related both to gout and exposure to inorganic dust and were adjusted for in multivariate analyses. ORs were calculated using conditional logistic regression.

Results 5042 gout cases and 20 682 controls were included. Exposure to inorganic dust was associated with gout in both unadjusted (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.20) and multivariate (OR 1.08, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.16) analyses of the whole population. In sex-stratified multivariate analyses, dust exposure was significantly associated with gout in women (adjusted OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.51), but not in men (adjusted OR 1.05, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.13).

Conclusions We describe for the first time an association between exposure to inorganic dust and gout. After adjusting for confounders, the findings were statistically significant for women but not for men.

  • Epidemiology
  • Gout
  • Arthritis

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  • MD and KT share senior authorship.

  • Twitter Sigurdardottir @ValgerdurRos.

  • Contributors VS contributed to analysis and interpretation of data and was responsible for writing the manuscript. MD, LJ and KT contributed to the conception of the study, the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data and contributed to writing the manuscript. AS contributed to the interpretation of data and the writing of the manuscript. LS was responsible for the statistical analysis and contributed to the writing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethical approval information Ethical approval for the study was granted from the Ethical Review Board of Gothenburg, Sweden (347/13). Patient consent was waived, as data were derived from administrative registers that do not require such consent.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Statistical analysis plan available upon request. Individual participant data not available due to legal restrictions prohibiting sharing of register data.

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