Public Release: 13-Jul-2015
Funeral directors may be at heightened risk of progressive neurodegenerative disease
Link with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may be formaldehyde in embalming fluid
Funeral directors, who prepare bodies for burial, may be at heightened risk of the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS for short, as a result of the formaldehyde used in embalming fluid, suggests research published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, was the subject of last year’s ice bucket challenge. It is progressive, causing muscle weakness, paralysis, and eventually respiratory failure and death. There is no cure for the condition, which is thought to affect 450,000 people worldwide.
Some environmental factors have been mooted as possibly increasing the risk of developing ALS, including formaldehyde.
The researchers therefore looked at the links between death from ALS and occupational exposure to formaldehyde, using the US…