There have been few recent studies of the descriptive epidemiology of systemic sclerosis, but in recent work the limited form of the disease seems more prominent than reported in previous studies. Molecular genetic investigation of systemic sclerosis remains disappointing in identifying susceptibility alleles. There are some associations in relation to HLA class II alleles, specifically DP, DQ, and DR. These associations, however, seem to be more important in predicting the nature of the autoimmune response rather than describing disease susceptibility itself. The study of occupational and environmental influences has been dominated by studies on the role of silicone gel breast implants. These studies, driven by medicolegal constraints, have overwhelmingly failed to prove any association. Other studies confirm the continuing likelihood that organic solvents are implicated, at least in a proportion of cases.