Miscarriages linked to chemicals

Miscarriages linked to chemicals

NEW YORK - Reuters
Nurses who worked with chemotherapy drugs or sterilizing chemicals were twice as likely to have a miscarriage as their colleagues who didn’t handle these materials, according to a new study.

Lead author Christina Lawson, a researcher at the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), said she was not too surprised that exposure to certain chemicals would be tied to lost pregnancies.

“What surprised me the most was that (chemotherapy) drugs are something we’ve been trying to educate nurses on, about the hazards, and we’re still finding exposures during the first trimester,” Lawson said.

Because chemotherapy drugs typically target rapidly dividing cells, such as those in a tumor or a fetus, they have been a concern for pregnant women who come into contact with them, Lawson said.

Lawson and her colleagues surveyed nearly 7,500 nurses who had had a pregnancy between 1993 and 2002. The nurses were asked to remember how often they worked with certain chemicals or equipment, such as X-rays, anesthesia, anti-cancer drugs and disinfectants, during each trimester. One out of every 10 nurses ended up losing her pregnancy before the half-way point, 20 weeks.

However, among nurses who handled chemotherapy drugs for more than an hour a day, that rate was double, about two out of every 10 nurses lost her pregnancy.