Union worries about ‘potentially dangerous’ drug exposure for some health workers in Alberta

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) says it’s received a number of complaints from front-line health-care workers about exposure to potentially dangerous cytotoxic medications.

Mainly used in chemotherapy to fight cancer, cytotoxic medications are also used to treat an increasing number of illnesses, most recently rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis.

“So far, the union’s filed five occupational health and safety complaints with the province over members’ exposure to cytotoxic meds at facilities in Edmonton, Westlock, Cold Lake and Vegreville. We continue to receive complaints of exposure from members almost daily,” AUPE vice-president Carrie-Lynn Rusznak said in a news release Monday.

Exposure may cause pregnancy related issues, vital organ damage and in some cases, forms of cancer, the union said.

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