Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2015; 19 (15): 2838-2851

Occupational risk factors in inflammatory bowel disease

V. Leso, W. Ricciardi, I. Iavicoli

Institute of Public Health, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, School of Medicine, Rome, Italy.

OBJECTIVE: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Although the aetiology of IBD is not completely understood, an interaction between genetic and environmental factors has been proposed. In this context, however, environmental epidemiology lacks a comprehensive evaluation of the possible role of occupational exposures in IBD development and progression. Therefore, aim of our review was to evaluate how certain occupational risk factors may affect IBD pathogenesis, clinical history and severity of disease manifestations.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A critical revision of available literature concerning exposure to groups of potential workplace hazardous agents and IBD, as it appears in Medline and Web of knowledge, was performed.

RESULTS: The role of workplace exposures to chemical and biological agents, ionizing or non-ionizing radiations, shift-works, indoor, and sedentary works as well as job strain on IBD has been critically revised. However, the limited number of studies addressing these issues prevented us from extrapolating definite conclusions.

CONCLUSIONS: Our review pointed out some critical aspects concerning the relationship between occupational factors and IBD, in terms of causative pathways, hazardous exposure, susceptibility and consequences of IBD functional limitations on career choice and fitness for work that need future investigations. Overall, this seems a challenging public health issue, considering the strong IBD impact on patients’ quality of life, work productivity and costs to society.
Moreover, this review may encourage concerted actions of health care specialists, occupational physicians, employers and IBD workers to plan preventive and protective measures for “healthier patterns of work” for IBD and to develop innovative perspectives for an integrated management of “IBD at work”.

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To cite this article

V. Leso, W. Ricciardi, I. Iavicoli
Occupational risk factors in inflammatory bowel disease

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2015
Vol. 19 - N. 15
Pages: 2838-2851