A study published this month suggests that nurses who work with chemotherapy drugs or sterilizing chemicals are twice as likely to have a miscarriage as their coworkers who were not exposed to those materials.
Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) surveyed nearly 7,500 nurses who became pregnant between 1993 and 2002. The women were asked how frequently they worked with particular equipment and chemicals such as anesthesia, x-rays, disinfectants and cancer drugs during each of their trimesters.
- Nurses who handled chemotherapy drugs for more than one hour per day were found to be twice as likely to miscarry.
- Nurses who handled sterilizing chemicals for more than one hour per day also were twice as likely to miscarry but only in their second trimester.
- Nurses who performed X-rays were about 30 percent more likely to miscarry than nurses who did not perform X-rays.
Chemo Drugs Dangerous Across the Board
Chemo agents have been classified as “hazardous drugs” by the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). In addition to the increased risk of miscarriage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that exposure to these drugs could cause:
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Bone marrow problems could injure the heart and lungs and cause hearing loss
According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the U.S. has over two million female nurses, making up four percent of the female workforce. The researchers stated that hospitals should do more to protect nurses from chemical exposure in hospitals, particularly during their first trimester of pregnancy.
If you or someone you know has been harmed by chemical exposure at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for a free consultation. Our attorneys specialize in workplace injuries, and can help you determine your legal options.