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Women vets have higher risk for miscarriage

Female veterinarians who do not protect themselves against anesthetics, X-rays, and pesticides at work have higher risk for miscarriage. A survey of 940 women veterinarians who graduated from Australian veterinary schools from 1960 to 2000 showed that the risk for miscarriage among women vets is 16%.

Analysis showed that women exposed to anesthetic gases for 1 or more hours per week had a 2.49 higher risk of miscarriage than other women. Those performing more than five X-rays per week had a 1.82 greater risk for miscarriage than those performing less than five. The risk for miscarriage is almost double also for women who use pesticides at work. Researchers found that many of the vets surveyed either didn’t have the safety equipment in their work, or they had the equipment but weren’t using it correctly. The research aims to make women vets aware of the need to fully protect themselves at work, especially if they are planning to have a baby.

Although this research followed up vets only, I would imagine that there are many women of childbearing age working in the healthcare industry who are also exposed to these occupational hazards. And their employers should make sure that they are well-protected in the work place!
In the European Union, for example, there are plans to limit the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because of the occupational hazard of electromagnetic field exposure.


MedWire News. 08April2008

Shirangi et al. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 3 April 2008

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