According to a recent study, men who have jobs as funeral directors and work with embalming fluids such as formaldehyde have an increased risk of being affected by a serious medical condition known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS.
A team of scientists has conducted a new study which suggests that those who work with formaldehyde on a daily basis using it to embalm dead bodies are three times more likely to develop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a serious neurological disease, as opposed to the people who are never exposed to the chemical substance.
The researchers described the findings of their new study in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
The scientists found that those who work as funeral directors are more exposed to formaldehyde, which increases their risk of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who suffered from the disease and eventually died from it.
Andrea Roberts, a researcher at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston, and one of the authors of the new study, explained that they have studied about 500 men who were exposed to a high level of formaldehyde. Roberts added that all the men were working as funeral directors.
The National Funeral Directors Association released a statement saying that those who work as funeral directors are aware of this risk they are exposing themselves to, but it’s an occupational hazard. The statement added that the funeral directors are very interested in these studies and how to avoid any health dangers at their work place.
The funeral association advises all members to be very careful when working with formaldehyde and should try to keep a minimum level of exposure. They can achieve this by keeping the room in which they work with the dangerous substance ventilated at any time.
The association advises funeral directors to ventilate the room as well as they can in order to reduce the exposure to formaldehyde.
This is not the first time scientists find an association between formaldehyde and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Previous studies have shown a link between the two in animals.
According to the medical experts, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive and often fatal disease that attacks and destroys the nerve cells in the body that control muscles. Most people who develop this neurological disease die from respiratory failure, usually within 3 to 5 years after they have been diagnosed.
Image Source: tumblr