April 2024 additions to NERDB

April 2024 additions to NERDB

NERDB is the New and emerging risks database. This bibliographic database is an initiative of Nicole Palmen and Annet Lenderink with the support of Modernet and is currently powered by Airtable.

More information on this database is on the NERDB page

We will publish regular updates on new disease-exposure combinations we added to the database on the website. Currently, we have 416 entries. Ordered by the year in which the abstract is published

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New entries:

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Ruirui Z, Raúl RR, Jessica GG, Mar RM, Navarro-Mena Á, López-Villén A, Raquel AR. Indicators of occupational pesticide exposure are associated with psychiatric symptoms. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2024 Jan;105:104357. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2023.104357. Epub 2023 Dec 27. PMID: 38158030.

In southeastern Spain, intensive and highly productive agriculture under plastic also poses a risk to human health, as evidenced by reports on acute pesticide poisoning and its effects on mental health. However, knowledge of chronic exposures and their relationship to psychiatric disorders is still limited.

This study analyzed the relationship between occupational exposure to pesticides and psychiatric disorders in farmers from Almería. A cross-sectional study was conducted amongst a coastal population in Almería, where over 32,800 ha of land are dedicated to intensive agriculture in plastic greenhouses.

A total of 409 people participated in the study: 203 farmers and 206 control subjects. The highest risk of psychiatric disorders was observed in farmers living in areas of high exposure to pesticides, working in greenhouses (intensive agriculture), without protective goggles and without wearing masks.

This study supports previous evidence of an elevated risk of psychiatric disorders among farm workers exposed to pesticides.

Gaddour A, Brahem A, Mosbah H, Sridi C, Saidane M, Belakhdher M, Chouchene A, Kacem I, Maoua M, Kalboussi H, El Maalel O, Chatti S, Kermani W, Najib M. Occupational Risk Factors for Laryngeal Cancer in Tunisia: A Case Control Study. Med Lav. 2023 Dec 7;114(6):e2023047. doi: 10.23749/mdl.v114i6.14588. PMID: 38060209; PMCID: PMC10731567.


Tobacco use and alcohol consumption are the primary risk factors for laryngeal cancer (LC). In most populations, occupational exposures are likely to play a minor role in laryngeal carcinogenesis. We aimed to investigate the association between occupational exposure and laryngeal cancer.


It is a case-control study that included 140 cases diagnosed between January 2013 and December 2016 and 140 controls matched by sex, age, alcohol consumption, and tobacco consumption.


Significantly increased risks were found amongst workers of the building sector (OR=4.621; 95% CI [1.826-11.693]) and the mechanical industry sector (OR=5.074; 95% CI [1.425-18.072]). Significant association of laryngeal cancer with various carcinogens was observed such as asbestos (p=0.009; OR=3.68; 95% CI [1.29-10.46]), paint vapors (p=0.005; OR=3.35; 95% CI [1.37-8.16]), solvents (p=0.001; OR=3.29: 95% CI [1.61-6.68]) and cement dust (p=0.003; OR=3.19: 95% CI [1.43-7.12]). After binary logistic regression, cement dust was independently correlated with LC (p=0.042; OR=3.93; 95% CI [1.04-14.78]. The administration sector was associated with decreased risk (p=0.001; OR=0.07; 95% CI [0.03-0.15]) as well as the health sector (p=0.001; OR=0.098; 95% CI [0.02-0.43]).


Our results supported the role of occupational factors in developing LC. Further studies enabling an in-depth analysis of occupational exposures are necessary to provide a clearer definition of the etiological associations between single agents and circumstances of exposure and the genesis of LC.

Mazumder, N. U. S., Hossain, M. T., Jahura, F. T., Girase, A., Hall, A. S., Lu, J., & Ormond, R. B. (2023). Firefighters’ exposure to per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as an occupational hazard: A review. Frontiers in materials10, 1143411.

The term “firefighter” and “cancer” have become so intertwined in the past decade that they are now nearly inseparable. Occupational exposure of firefighters to carcinogenic chemicals may increase their risk of developing different types of cancer.

PFAS are one of the major classes of carcinogenic chemicals that firefighters are exposed to as an occupational hazard. Elevated levels of PFAS have been observed in firefighters’ blood serum in recent studies. Possible sources of occupational exposure to PFAS include turnout gear, aqueous film-forming foam, and air and dust at both the fire scene and fire station.

Preliminary discussion on PFAS includes definition, classification, and chemical structure. The review is then followed by identifying the sources of PFAS that firefighters may encounter as an occupational hazard. The structural properties of the PFAS used in identified sources, their degradation, and exposure pathways are reviewed. The elevated level of PFAS in the blood serum and how this might associate with an increased risk of cancer is discussed.

Our review shows a significant amount of PFAS on turnout gear and their migration to untreated layers, and how turnout gear itself might be a potential source of PFAS exposure. PFAS from aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF), air, and dust of fire stations have been already established as potential exposure sources.

Studies on firefighters’ cancer suggest that firefighters have a higher cancer risk compared to the general population. This review suggests that increased exposure to PFAS as an occupational hazard could be a potential cancer risk for firefighters.

Vitturi BK, Montecucco A, Rahmani A, Dini G, Durando P. Occupational risk factors for multiple sclerosis: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Front Public Health. 2023 Nov 16;11:1285103. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1285103. PMID: 38054069; PMCID: PMC10694508.


We decided to conduct the first systematic review with meta-analysis to provide the highest level of up-to-date evidence on the occupational risk factors for Multiple Sclerosis.


A systematic, comprehensive literature search was performed in four electronic academic databases. We included any case-control study that enrolled working-age subjects and compared the proportion of MS cases with controls who were not exposed to an occupational risk factor. The primary outcome was the occurrence of MS. The quality assessment was performed with the Critical Appraisal Checklist for Case Control Studies, developed, and validated by the Joanna Briggs Institute. All the selection process was also carried out by two independent and previously trained researchers.


Overall, the total sample included 19,004 people with MS and 4,164,162 controls. Agricultural workers (OR = 1.44, 95% CI 1.13–1.83), offshore workers (OR = 3.56, 95% CI 2.74–4.61), and hairdressers (OR = 8.25, 95% CI 1.02–66.52) were associated with a higher probability of being diagnosed with MS. In parallel, workers exposed to toxic fumes from oil wells (OR = 16.80, 95% CI 8.33–33.90), low-frequency magnetic fields (OR = 1.71, 95% CI 1.03–2.72), and pesticides (OR = 3.17, 95% CI = 2.53–3.99) also had an increased likelihood of having MS.


Our study has the potential to influence more assertive public policies. Nevertheless, future studies on how the occupational setting may contribute to the incidence of MS are highly recommended.



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