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Cleanlink News | 12/18/2007


Chemical Exposures May be Linked to Diseases

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A first ever national survey of nurses’ exposures to chemicals, pharmaceuticals and radiation on the job suggests there are links between serious health problems such as cancer, asthma, miscarriages and children's birth defects and the duration and intensity of these exposures.  The survey included 1,500 nurses from all 50 states. One can argue that cleaners within health care facilities are exposed to the same elements as nurses and would therefore experience similar exposure side affects. 

The results were released online at, http://www.ewg.org/reports/nursesurvey, by the Environmental Working Group, the American Nurses Association, Health Care Without Harm, the Environmental Health Education Center at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.  The survey was extremely detailed and is the first of its kind, but it was not a controlled, statistically designed study.

Every day, nurses confront low-level but repeated exposures to mixtures of hazardous materials that include residues from medications, anesthetic gases, sterilizing and disinfecting chemicals, radiation, latex, cleaning chemicals, hand and skin disinfection products, and even mercury escaping from broken medical equipment.  There are no workplace safety standards to protect nurses from the combined effects of these exposures on their health.




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