We have known since the 1980s that nurses who are accidentally exposed to chemotherapy drugs are much more likely to develop cancer. When they become pregnant, they have higher premature birth rates, more miscarriages and more babies born with birth defects. Thankfully, that research led to strong controls and regulations that protect these front-line caretakers from the hazardous cytotoxic drugs they must handle every day.
Decades later, oncology and drug development experts have identified another danger with chemotherapy drugs: the grave risk is not just the chemo drugs before they are given to a patient, the risk remains after the drugs are given. For two to three days following every chemotherapy treatment, up to 90% of ingested cytotoxic drugs are still present when excreted by the patient.
Since most cancer patients are treated as outpatients and released to go home immediately following treatment, they unwittingly expose their families and caregivers to cytotoxic drugs. And when a patient’s toxic human waste enters our wastewater, it cannot be removed with any existing purification technology.
Leading environmental scientists say the solution to eliminating this grave environmental and human health risk is to capture cytotoxic chemicals at the source (the patient’s excreta). The use and safe disposal of Pharma-Cycle’s patented Family Safe Kits and Clinic Packs offer the only responsible way to solve this problem.
While it seems contradictory that many of the chemicals used to successfully treat cancer could also cause cancer, more than 10% of known carcinogens are widely used as chemotherapy drugs. Today’s newer cancer treatments are often used in combination with these cytotoxic drugs. Despite advancements and new discoveries, chemotherapy does and will remain the foundation for the majority of cancer treatments.
Three decades ago, pharmacy and oncology nursing personnel unknowingly experienced routine exposure to cytotoxic chemicals. For these workers the effects of exposure to these chemicals resulted in:
· Almost three times the incidence of miscarriages than other nurses.
· Nearly five times as many birth defects in the children born to these workers.
· Infertility, leukemia, and other problems.
Without adequate protection, families and caregivers of chemotherapy patients are at greater risk.
Data has shown that the spouses of chemotherapy patients are actually excreting the cytotoxic drugs at higher levels than was found in the urine of nurses back when no one was minding the situation. There are two pediatric cancers where the number one cause is exposure to chemotherapy: acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphocytic leukemia. Children who get these cancers require extremely long, painful and expensive treatments and sadly, many of these children do not survive. No cancer patient would knowingly want to risk the health of their family or caregiver.
Cytotoxic drugs also pose a threat to the environment and the water supply. When these chemicals are excreted in a patient’s urine or feces, they are flushed down a toilet and enter public wastewater treatment systems or septic tanks. While these systems break down human waste before it enters the water, they do nothing to eliminate hazardous cytotoxic chemicals. Whether the hazardous chemicals reach a well that is 100 feet away from a septic tank or pass through a public wastewater treatment plant, once they enter the water supply, they cannot be eliminated with current technology. They flow into ground water, creeks and rivers, ultimately reaching our drinking water leaving the general public at great risk.