Mass.: No Environmental Link to Scleroderma, Lupus

January 12, 2010

State health officials say an 11-year study of two autoimmune diseases in South Boston found a higher-than-expected number of cases of scleroderma and lupus among white women, but failed to find an environmental link.

The state launched the study in 1998 in response to community concerns about a possible disease cluster and environmental health threats.

The Department of Public Health noted that its study involved a relatively small number of people who had confirmed medical diagnoses and agreed to be interviewed. They were compared with a larger number of neighborhood residents who did not have the diseases.

The study found that a previous diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis was associated with scleroderma and lupus, and also found an association with a family history of rheumatic diseases.

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