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Chemo Patients Pose Potential Public Health Risk
Date:9/19/2013

NEWPORT, R.I., Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In its second edition of "Safe Management of Wastes from Health-Care Activities," released in August, the World Health Organization (WHO) singled out contact with residual amounts of chemotherapy drugs as a significant risk requiring collection, containment and proper disposal in order to avoid exposure "through contact with body fluids and secretions [urine, feces and vomit] of patients undergoing chemotherapy."

Genotoxic/cytotoxic compounds, most commonly found in chemotherapy drugs, work by either mutating or killing cells. Unlike poisons, which can be safe when exposure is limited to tiny amounts, genotoxins/cytotoxins act more like "chemical germs," where even minimal exposure can cause a devastating chain reaction. The risk from contact to an otherwise healthy person is especially heightened when there is a significant amount of cell development happening — for example, among children and women of childbearing age.

According to the WHO report, any wastes produced by these patients within 48 hours of drug administration, and in some cases for up to a week, should be considered genotoxic.

Despite the otherwise well-regulated and well-managed handling of dangerous medical waste, chemotherapy patients treated with any of more than two dozen different chemotherapy drugs who return home after outpatient treatment can inadvertently but easily expose others to genotoxic contamination through seemingly benign occurrences such as urine splashed on a bathroom floor, clean up after an episode of vomiting, or the handling of bed sheets or a bedpan for a patient unable to use a bathroom.

The WHO report address what many in the field of chemotherapy-based treatment have long acknowledged as a dangerous "blind spot."
The human body can only destroy a portion of these genotoxic drugs. The r
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SOURCE Pharma-Cycle, Inc.
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