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Chemical Agents: To Toxify or Not To Toxify

Posted by Robert O'Neill on Apr 25, 2013 2:00:16 AM
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Five flasks with different chemical agentsWork related exposures to carcinogenic chemicals like hazardous chemical agents have increased the incidence of leukaemia. An international group of medical researchers undertook a medical study to analyse the relationship of Leukaemia and workers’ exposure to pesticides and animal contacts which are hazards in occupations.

The study was conducted on a sample population of 241,000 European workers who have occupations that are considered to be high risk to cancer. These subjects were given an initial analysis and a follow up check up was done after 10 years. The follow up period revealed that 477 subjects have myeloid and lymphoid leukaemia.

Myeloid leukaemia arises from the abnormal growth in the bone marrow. On the other hand, lymphoid leukaemia affects lymphocyte cells which are a type of white blood cell.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) published a research paper. The abstract is downloadable via the OEM website.

Leukaemia is also dominant among mechanics, iron and metal ware workers, dry cleaners, launderers, dry cleaners, nursing, healthcare workers, janitors, employers in plumbing, heating and air conditioning, telephone line workers and welders and abattoirs and meat processing plants.

Leukaemia is likewise dominant among labourers involved in petroleum production, munitions, rubber plastic nuclear energy, agriculture, and electronic manufacturing. Excessive exposures to benzene, pesticides, ionising radiation, hair dye and formaldehyde can cause Leukaemia as well.

Other carcinogenic properties which could increase risk of lymphoid leukaemia are metal turning, fumes/asphalt, and/or coal tar-based materials. Glues used in manufacturing of shoes contain benzene.

Exposure to Benzene could increase the risk of chronic myeloid leukaemia. The results of the study similarly indicated that working in chemical laboratories and in the shoe or other leather goods industry increased the risk of lymphoid and myeloid leukaemia, respectively.

Medical researchers doing the study said that their findings “suggest a possible role of occupational exposures (solvents) in developing lymphoid and myeloid leukaemia.

Topics: Blog, Hazardous Materials Management