- Can I find out whether a substance is harmful during pregnancy or when I want to have children?
- If I am pregnant, can I refuse to perform certain tasks?
- Are reprotoxic substances dangerous for pregnant women only?
- If I am pregnant, am I excluded from certain work?
- If I am pregnant, can I administer high-risk medicines?
- If I am pregnant, can I still nurse radiopharmaceutical patients?
- If I am pregnant, can I still work with radioactive substances?
- If I want to have children, should I avoid all risks?
Yes, look at the label of the substance to see if any of the following H phrases are present:
H 340: May cause genetic defects
H 341: Suspected of causing genetic defects
H 350: May cause cancer
H 351: Suspected of causing cancer
H 360: May damage fertility or the unborn child
H 361: Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child
H 362: May cause harm to breast-fed children
If it is an old label, the R phrases below may still appear:
R 46 May cause hereditary genetic damage (mutagenic)
R 45 May cause cancer (carcinogenic)
R 49 May cause cancer by inhalation (carcinogenic)
R 60 May impair fertility (reprotoxic)
R 61 May cause harm to the unborn child (reprotoxic)
R 64 May cause harm to breast-fed babies
R 40 Limited evidence of carcinogenic effect (suspected carcinogenic, cat. 3)
R 62 Possible risk of impaired fertility (suspected reprotoxic)
R 63 Possible risk of harm to the unborn child (suspected reprotoxic)
R 68 Possible risk of irreversible effects (suspected mutagenic, cat. 3)
More information can be obtained from your UMC's OHS advisor.
Yes, you do not have to work with a dangerous substance if there is any risk of exposure. For an overview of the (H phrases) see the previous question.
Yes, but in fact you should always be careful when working with dangerous substances. For departments working with cytostatics or inhaled anaesthetics, the likelihood of exposure is small and is considered acceptable if the prescribed control measures are implemented consistently.
The hospital must have a policy for women who are nevertheless concerned about the risks for the child. This may mean that you are temporarily given another job or that you do not have to perform certain duties. A pregnant woman must not work with lead or with the biological agents Toxoplasma and Rubella virus (unless she has been found to be immune).
No, reprotoxic substances are also referred to as substances toxic to reproduction. These substances can have a harmful effect on the fertility of both women and men, or affect the unborn child or be harmful to breast-fed children.
These substances can therefore also have an effect on the fertility of men. Mutagenic substances can also have a harmful effect on the hereditary material in the sperm cell. Substances that may cause damage to fertility, egg-cells and sperm cells, pregnancy, the unborn child or infant comprise all mutagenic substances, most carcinogenic substances and all reprotoxic substances.
Yes, you do not have to work with genotoxic substances if there is any risk of exposure. Genotoxic substances are all mutagenic substances and most carcinogenic substances. For these substances, there is no safe lower exposure limit, so any exposure presents a risk.
For substances with a non-genotoxic action mechanism (the reprotoxic substances), it is in principle possible to establish a safe exposure level. A pregnant woman must not work with white lead or with the biological agents Toxoplasma and Rubella virus (unless she has been found to be immune.
Yes, provided that you take the proper prescribed control measures (protection) and do not carry out any high-risk duties.
Sometimes you can, sometimes you cannot. Patients who are treated with larger amounts of radiopharmaceuticals, for example for thyroid cancer, are always nursed in a special nursing unit. These patients are treated with 131-iodine for example.
They represent an additional risk for the unborn child. In general, nursing these patients does not present an increased risk in terms of exposure to external radiation.
However, the excreta of these patients is also radioactive. As a result, there is always a (low) likelihood of internal contamination. For this reason, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding had best avoid contact with these patients.
Patients who have been administered radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic purposes can usually be nursed and cared as normal. It is of course better not to be in contact with such a patient for any longer than strictly necessary.
Yes, most work with radioactive substances in a C-lab/monitored zone involves only a small chance of receiving an extra dose over and above the dose we already receive naturally.
The group of staff in the category C-lab are referred to as C or B workers. Category B or A workers have the chance to receive a higher dose when working in a B lab/monitored zone. A pregnant worker in this group will be assigned different duties. The rule is that the dose for the unborn child must be as low as reasonably achievable and must not exceed 1 mSv from the time you notify your manager that you are pregnant until the end of your pregnancy. If you are breast-feeding, there must only be a slim chance of radioactive contamination.