IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 2755: Is Farm Milk a Risk Factor for Sarcoidosis? The Role of Farm Residence, Unpiped Water and Untreated Milk in Sarcoidosis: A Case-Referent Study in Alberta, Canada (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Objective: Sarcoidosis is thought to be an aberrant immune response to environmental agents, with rural living as a risk factor. We aimed to determine if farm living, consumption of farm (untreated) milk, or untreated water increased the risk of sarcoidosis. Methods: In a case-referent design, patients aged 18-60 with pulmonary sarcoidosis together with referents with other chronic respiratory disease, diagnosed 1999-2005 in Alberta, Canada, were approached through their specialist physician. Participants completed a telephone questionnaire about farm living, use of untreated water and farm milk for each residence from birth to diagnosis. Exposures at birth, up to age five, and up to diagnosis were calculated. Results: The study included 615 cases and 1334 referents. The consumption of farm milk, but not of unpiped water or farm living overall, appeared to be consistently associated with sarcoidosis in a fully adjusted analysis. The association was present for farm milk used in the residence of birth (odds ratios (OR): 1.59, 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.08-2.34) and persisted for those drinking farm milk to age five years (OR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.04-2.21), and for those drinking farm milk for >16 years to diagnosis (OR: 1.50, 95% CI: 1.04-2.15). The association with sarcoidosis was stronger when the referent was in the subgroup diagnosed with asthma but was present also with referents with other chronic respiratory disease. Among those whose family used farm milk at birth and to age 5 years, continued use of farm milk into adulthood increased the risk of sarcoidosis. Conclusion: We observed evidence of positive association between consumption of farm milk and sarcoidosis.