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Dermal Exposure to Chemotherapy Drugs Impairs Fertility in Nurses

Dermal Exposure to Chemotherapy Drugs Impairs Fertility in Nurses

Sunday, January 21st 2007

Oncology nurses who are exposed through their skin to antineoplastic drugs take longer to conceive and are at increased risk for premature delivery, according to a report in the January issue of Epidemiology.

"Nine antineoplastic drugs have been classified as proven carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)," Dr. Wouter Fransman told Reuters Health. "Our findings show that even very low dermal exposure levels (nanograms) can cause an elevated risk of a prolonged time to pregnancy, premature delivery, or a low birth weight, even when gloves are worn during work."

"We hope that people working with antineoplastic drugs are aware of the potential risks of these agents," Dr. Fransman said. "We should not scare people too much, but on the other hand we should not ignore the potential health risks that are associated with exposure to antineoplastic drugs. The awareness on how to safely work with these agents and following the right protocols and regulations will minimize exposure and hence reduce health risks."

Dr. Fransman from Utrecht University, The Netherlands and colleagues used questionnaires to assess pregnancy outcomes, work-related exposures, and lifestyle factors among 4393 oncology nurses, 1519 of which reported dermal exposure to antineoplastic drugs during the course of their work.

On average, nurses with dermal exposure to antineoplastic drugs took one month longer than unexposed nurses to get pregnant, the authors report.

Moreover, exposed nurses were twice as likely as unexposed nurses to deliver a low birthweight child, the results indicate.

Dermal exposure to antineoplastic drugs also slightly increased the risk of premature delivery, the researchers note, but there was not a significantly increased risk of stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, or congenital malformations.

Dr. Fransman commented that his group hopes to extend the study to other countries, where exposure levels may differ. "Maybe exposure levels in other countries are much higher, so that we can test our hypothesis that higher exposure levels could lead to fetal loss and congenital malformations."

Epidemiology 2007;18:112-119

By Will Boggs, MD

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products can all be used before, during & after pregnancy to help produce a happy, health baby:

Calcium - Magnesium
Eczema Relief
Mother and Baby
Hi Strength Evening Primrose Oil
Clean Lean Protein Vanilla
Flax Bloom Oil
Floradix Formula 250ml
Fully Active Folate
Gentle Iron
Mineral Power
Multi for Pregnancy
Pregnancy Support
Prenatal DHA
Whey Protein Vanilla
V-Omega 3 + Vitamin D

Related health information can be found here:

Carbohydrate and protein content of foods
Herbs to avoid during pregnancy
Glutathione - the master antioxidant involved in disease prevention
Levels of protein, carbohydrate and fat in Food
Pregnancy nutrients
Protein - a macronutrient so often overlooked
Recommended Calcium Intake for New Zealanders
Water, the elixir of life

Related Blog postings can be found here:

Pregnancy Multivitamin Information
Get Pregnant Fast

Related articles can be found here:

Critical pregnancy nutrition
Doctors recommend a multi-vitamin a day
Minerals: Critical for well-being
Olive Leaf Extract - For Winter Ills and Much More
Red Raspberry eases pregnancy
The Efamol story

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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