Study of occupational chromium, iron, and nickel exposure and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in denmark

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies of occupational metal exposures and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have focused primarily on known neurotoxicants, including lead, mercury, selenium, and cadmium. However, these exposures are often co-occurring with other lesser studied metals. We conducted a population-based case-control study with the aim of assessing associations between occupational chromium, iron, and nickel exposures and risk of ALS. We identified ALS cases in Denmark from 1982 through 2013 from the Danish National Patient Registry and matched them to 100 controls based on birth year and sex. Cumulative metal exposures were estimated using job exposure matrices applied to occupational history from the Danish Pension Fund. Although mutually adjusted odds of ALS were higher in men with chromium exposures in the third quartile (aOR = 1.24; 95% CI 0.91, 1.69) and fourth quartile (aOR = 1.19; 95% CI: 0.80, 1.76) compared to those with no exposure, differences did not reach statistical significance. We also observed higher odds of ALS in women with nickel exposures in the third quartile (aOR = 2.21; 95% CI: 1.14, 4.28), but not for the fourth quartile (aOR = 0.61; 95% CI: 0.23, 1.64). Our findings do not suggest associations between occupational exposures to these metals and ALS. However, unavoidable non-differential misclassification from the use of JEMs may have masked truly increased risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8086
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • ALS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Metals
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Occupational exposures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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