Extreme danger for family members if bodily fluids from chemotherapy patients are not controlled

Most chemotherapy patients (85%) receive their infusions in special oncology infusion units. Then they are sent home. Unfortunately, patients and their families do not receive any warning about the dangers the chemicals exiting their bodies can pose to family members, caregivers or others they may meet. Without careful, elaborate precautions everyone around the patient is in danger. The damage to others may not be know for months or years because the injuries could include cancer, birth defects or immune dysfunction such as myelodysplastic syndrome (pre-leukemia).

It is important that family members and others who enter the chemotherapy patient’s home during the danger period and until all surfaces in the home are carefully cleaned understand the dangers to themselves and unborn children.   Some cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs remain extremely dangerous AFTER they are infused into the patient because they are excreted as active, dangerous chemicals during the few days after each chemodrugscanspreadinfusion.   During the Danger Period, the patient’s urine, feces, vomit, sweat and saliva contain huge quantities of dangerous chemicals  Loved ones will become contaminated by touching bodily waste or touching a surface contaminated by bodily waste.  Because the chemicals cross skin, the patient will spread contamination by touch surfaces, kissing family members and eating and drinking from family plates and glasses.  Surfaces in bathrooms, sheets and towels will also become contaminated.  Cleaning every surface and household item that has become contaminated is difficult.  Even hospitals struggle – using specially marked laundry bags that are placed in a specially labeled impervious bags. The laundry bags and their contents are then prewashed by laundry personnel wearing latex gloves and gowns.  After the first wash, the laundry is then washed for a second time sending the chemicals into the environment

Once inside the caregiver's body, the cytotoxic drug will attack any fast growing cell, causing cancer or other damage. If the caretaker is pregnant, their baby can develop birth defects, undetectable for years, or even die. Babies and children, in particular, are at huge risk because so many of their cells are rapidly growing.

Because the drugs cannot be effectively removed by septic systems or wastewater treatment plants, they don't disappear even after they are flushed down the toilet or washed down the drain.

Cancer professionals including hospitals, oncology doctors and nurses and cancer drug producers know all about the risks. In 1986, OSHA to release recommendations for hospitals and their employees to always use high levels of protective equipment when working with chemotherapy patients or their bodily wastes. Accidental contamination of health care workers by one of these cytotoxic drugs, cyclophosphamide (proven in human studies to cause cancer, birth defects and miscarriages) was extensively studied. In 1985 nurses who worked with the chemotherapy patients were having babies with 4.7-times the number of birth defects as other nurses who did not work with such patients.

Even after OSHA's warnings, employees who worked with cytotoxic drugs showed that they had contaminated with dangerous levels. The drugs could be measured in their urine as their own bodies tried to get rid of the dangerous chemicals. Even today hospitals are struggling to contain cytotoxic drug contamination with strict procedures and advanced equipment. The floors of patients' lavatories show high level of cytotoxic chemicals from chemotherapy patients' urine.

 

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