nurses

Nurses Exposed to Toxic Cleaning Chemicals in Hospitals; Cancer Risk Elevated

Thursday, September 11, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: hospitals, health news, Natural News

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Nurses are exposed to a wide variety of toxic chemicals and radiation in the course of their jobs, and the degree of this exposure correlates with their risk of cancer, asthma, miscarriages and birth defects, according to a nationwide survey conducted by the American Nurses Association, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Health Care Without Harm and the Environmental Health Education Center at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

"Nurses are exposed daily to scores of different toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials whose cumulative health risks have never been studied," said Jane Houlihan, the EWG's vice president for research. "Nurses ingest, touch or breathe residues of any number of these potentially harmful substances as they care for patients, day after day."

In the first ever national survey examining the health effects of nurses' exposure to chemicals, the groups surveyed 1,500 nurses from 50 states about their exposure to 11 common health care chemicals, including anesthetic gases, hand disinfectants, cleaning substances, latex, pharmaceutical products including chemotherapy and antiretroviral drugs, mercury, personal care products such as shampoo and soap, and sterilization chemicals.

In addition to these known or potential toxins, nurses are also habitually exposed to radiation. In spite of a recommendation from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention in 2002, no comprehensive study of toxic workplace exposure in nurses has ever been conducted, let alone investigations into the health effects of cumulative exposure to this wide variety of toxins.

Even a seemingly innocuous substance like a household cleaner can be dangerous over long-term exposure.

"Generally, we think the cleaner the better -- the cleaner something is, the safer it is," said Lisa Hartmayer, a nurse from the University of California at San Francisco. "But that's not always the case. We use everyday cleaners that have chemicals, there's soap we use on our hands. I don't believe there's strong enough research to tell us what happens with constant exposure."

According to Hartmayer, many nurses complain of headaches, runny noses and watery eyes each time they use sanitary wipes to clean off medical equipment, which they must do several times each day.

Upon analyzing the results of the survey, researchers found that nurses who were exposed to toxic substances at least once per week had higher rates of asthma, cancer and miscarriage than nurses who were exposed less frequently.

"I know a woman who had eight miscarriages while she was working in health care," said Lauri Hoagland, a nurse practitioner from Napa, CA. "There haven't been any studies, but if you work in health care, you know something's happening. There isn't enough information and there aren't enough rules for hospitals to follow."

The children of pregnant nurses who were exposed to chemicals were more likely to have birth defects than the children of nurses who had not been exposed while pregnant. This correlation held particularly strongly for muscoloskeletal defects. Pregnant nurses who were exposed to anesthetics or sterilizing agents were seven to nine times more likely to give birth to children with such defects than nurses who had not been exposed.

In spite of this danger, the survey found that there are few if any workplace safety standards in place to limit nurses' exposure to hazardous substances and radiation.

"As much as we rely on nurses to protect us when we're sick, we're not protecting nurses in return," Houlihan said. "They face a diverse range of exposures in the workplace that really could pose significant health risks."

According to Houlihan, most nurses are not even aware that they are exposed daily to situations that could result in such serious health consequences. Hartmayer agreed with this assessment.

"The biggest problem I see is that nurses don't know they're being exposed," Hartmayer said. "It's not like nurses are saying, 'I can't go to work because of chemical exposure.' It's more like they don't feel well, and they don't know why. I think the damage is being done quietly."

According to Barbara Sattler, director of the Environmental Health Education Center at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, there is no need to expose nurses to many of these risks.

"For many of the toxic chemicals in hospitals there are safer alternative or safer processes," she said. "We must make these healthier choices for the sake of our patients, nurses and all hospital employees."

"This survey is a call to action for nurses to demand the use of safer products and protective measures to control exposures to hazardous agents in the workplace," said Anna Gilmore Hall, executive director of Health Care Without Harm.

Some hospitals have already begun implementing such measures. Many hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area no longer use latex gloves because of the allergy risk, for example, and some are reducing their use of vinyl on hospital premises due to the toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing of the material. The Stanford University Medical Center and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital now gives a comprehensive physical exam to all nurses upon hiring them, and once per year after that. This exam includes monitoring the chemical loads in their bodies.

According to Beverly Tobias, director of occupational health services for Stanford University Medical Center and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, it is not just nurses who can be harmed by the many toxic substances used in hospitals, but also the patients themselves.

"We have a lot of really, really sick people," she said. "We can't have a lot of foreign elements that are going to harm them on top of what they already have."

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.