Every year more than 12.7 million healthcare and veterinary workers in the European Union are potentially exposed to hazardous medicinal products (HMPs) which are carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR). HMPs are used mainly in cancer treatment, but also as antivirals, vaccines and immuno-suppressants, for treating such diseases as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and systemic lupus erythematosus (an auto-immune disease) and in organ transplant.
Studies show that hospital workers who handle these HMPs are three times more likely to develop malignancy and that nurses exposed are twice as likely to miscarry. Increased genetic damage has been demonstrated particularly among day-hospital nurses, who handle HMPs most during their administration.
In an article for Social Europe, Ian Lindsley, Tony Musu and Adam Rogalewski examine the revised directive and new guidelines on hazardous medicinal products and discusses why awareness still needs to be raised to protect workers.
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