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Pregnant Nurses at Risk of Miscarriages on the Job

Julie Heiden

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has rules for employers that limit exposure to harmful chemicals for their employees. These rules protect workers from the effects of harmful gases and chemicals while on the job. However, a recent study found that pregnant nurses are in danger of miscarriages due to common drugs and chemicals found in hospitals.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health conducted a study showing that workers in hospitals suffer routine exposure to anesthetic gases, antiviral drugs, sterilizing agents, x-rays and antineoplastic drugs. Researchers discovered that there is a risk of miscarriages in nurses exposed to these chemicals and drugs in the hospital.

Chemotherapy drug exposure resulted in twice as many spontaneous abortions in pregnant nurses, according to the study. The sterilizing agents used to disinfect equipment lead to a marked increase in miscarriages as well. The study examined over 7,000 female nurses and revealed that x-ray exposure also increased a pregnant nurse’s risk of miscarriage.

A full report on the study’s results is in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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Approved by attorney Julie Heiden