Air Pollution Linked to Psoriasis and Eczema

By Rob Dillard - Last Updated: May 4, 2023

Autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and eczema are likely impacted by air pollution, according to a study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology.

To discern the link between autoimmune skin diseases (psoriasis or eczema) and air pollutant mixtures, the researchers analyzed 9,060 subjects from the Personalized Environment and Genes Study (PEGS) cohort. “For increased spatial resolution, we included spatially cumulative exposure to volatile organic compounds from sites in the United States Environmental Protection Agency Toxic Release Inventory and the density of major roads within a 5 km radius of a participant’s address from the United States Geological Survey,” the researchers noted. They subsequently used logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, diagnosis with an autoimmune disease in family or self, and smoking history, to assess to the link between self-reported cases of psoriasis or eczema and air pollution mixtures.

The study found while only one air pollution variable, sulfate, was significant individually (OR = 1.06, p = 3.99E-2) for a psoriasis/eczema link, the conditional odds ratio for the combined mixture components of PM2.5 (black carbon, sulfate, sea salt, and soil), CO, SO2, benzene, toluene, and ethylbenzene is 1.10 (p-value = 5.4E-3). “While the etiology of autoimmune skin disorders is not clear, this study provides evidence that air pollutants are associated with an increased prevalence of these disorders,” the researchers concluded. “The results provide further evidence of potential health impacts of air pollution exposures on life-altering diseases.”

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