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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Nurses in contact with chemotherapy drugs face fertility problems

Reuters Health: In a study of oncology nurses, skin contact with chemotherapy drugs seemed to increase the time needed to conceive and to also raise the risk of premature delivery, according to a report in the journal Epidemiology.

"Our findings show that even very low (skin exposure to chemotherapy drugs) 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." Dr. Wouter Fransman told Reuters Health.

"We hope that people working with (these) drugs are aware of the potential risks of these agents," Fransman said. "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."

Fransman from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and colleagues used questionnaires to assess pregnancy outcomes, work-related exposures, and lifestyle factors among 4,393 oncology nurses, 1,519 of whom reported skin exposure to cancer drugs during the course of their work.

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