Rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by the hairspray or the lipstick you use. You’re also more likely to be a sufferer if you live near an airport – and one thing’s for sure, it’s nothing to do with getting older. Researchers are slowly beginning to understand the causes of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory auto-immune disorder that attacks the joints, often causing deformity. While doctors have been baffled by the disease, pioneers such as Prof Michael Ehrenfeld from Tel Aviv University believe that environmental factors have a large part to play in determining who develops it. One clue is that people who live near airports are far more likely to develop the disease, as are people who are sensitive to second-hand smoke, to food chemicals, pollutants in the air, jet fuel fumes – and even hairspray and lipstick. “Most people think arthritis has to do with old age, but this is false,” says Prof Ehrenfeld. (Source: Tel Aviv University, January 27, 2010).