• Wide variation in the prevalence of disabling musculoskeletal pain among workers carrying out similar jobs in different countries, which is not explained by established ergonomic and psychosocial risk factors.1
  • Risk factors for people with neurophysiologically confirmed carpal tunnel syndrome differ from those with similar symptoms but who have normal nerve conduction.2
  • Endotoxin protects cotton workers against lung cancer, an effect that persists for at least 10 years after last exposure.3
  • Any risk of cancer from formaldehyde is small, even at high levels of exposure.4This finding casts doubt on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s classification of formaldehyde as a human carcinogen.

Programme Leaders:

  • Dr Karen Walker-Bone
  • Professor Keith Palmer
  • Professor David Coggon


  1. Coggon D, Ntani G, Palmer KT, Felli VE, Harari R et al including Harris EC. Disabling musculoskeletal pain in working populations: is it the job, the person, or the culture? Pain 2013;154:856-863.
  2. Coggon D, Ntani G, Harris EC, Linaker C, Van der Star R, Cooper C, Palmer KT. Differences in risk factors for neurophysiologically confirmed carpal tunnel syndrome and illness with similar symptoms but normal median nerve function: a case-control study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2013;14:240.
  3. McElvenny DM, Hurley MA, Lenters V, Heederik D, Wilkinson S, Coggon D. Lung cancer mortality in a cohort of UK cotton workers: an extended follow-up. Br J Cancer 2011;105:1054-1060.
  4. Coggon D, Ntani G, Harris EC, Palmer KT. Upper airways cancer, myloid leukaemia and other cancers in a cohort of British chemical workers exposed to formaldehyde. Am J Epidemiol. In press 2014.