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Scleroderma

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of scleroderma is unknown. However, several factors are thought to influence risk, including environmental exposures and genetic susceptibility (ie, family history) (Castro 2010; Agarwal 2010a,b; Dieude 2011). For example, exposure to chemicals like polyvinyl chloride (used in the plastics industry), industrial solvents (such as paint thinners), and silica may trigger or exacerbate scleroderma (Barnes 2012; Varga 2008; Mora 2009; NIAMS 2010). Also, over 30 genes and gene regions are known to influence scleroderma susceptibility; most of these genes are related to the immune system (Mayes 2012).