Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and exposure to diesel exhaust in a danish cohort

Aisha S. Dickerson, Johnni Hansen, Ole Gredal, Marc G. Weisskopf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Previous studies have suggested an increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other motor neuron diseases for persons in occupations commonly involving exposure to diesel exhaust (DE). In this study, we investigated the association between occupational exposure to DE and odds of ALS. ALS cases were identified from the Danish National Patient Registry (1982-2013) and individually matched to 100 controls per case on the basis of birth year and sex. Using information on occupational history from 1964 onward obtained from the Danish Pension Fund, we estimated cumulative DE exposures using a job exposure matrix. We evaluated associations using conditional logistic regression analyses and stratified the analyses by sex. Using a 10-year lag period, DE exposure was positively associated with ALS among men who had ever been exposed (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.20, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.05, 1.38). For men with greater than 50% probability of DE exposure, we observed a positive association between ALS and highest-quartile exposure during the 5-year (aOR = 1.35, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.70) and 10-year (aOR = 1.41, 95%CI: 1.11, 1.79) lag periods. Our study suggests an association between consistently higher exposures to DE and ALS in men, but not in women. These findings support previous reports of associations between ALS and occupations commonly involving DE exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1613-1622
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • ALS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Diesel exhaust
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Occupational exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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