Chemical safety and health conditions among Hungarian Hospital Nurses

Anna Tompa, Mátyás Jakab, Anna Biró, Balázs Magyar, Zoltán Fodor, Tibor Klupp, Jenö Major

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

19 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study genotoxicological and immunotoxicological follow-up investigations were made on 811 donors including 94 unexposed controls and 717 nurses with various working conditions from different hospitals (The Hungarian Nurse Study). The nurses were exposed to different chemicals: cytostatic drugs, anesthetic, and sterilizing gases, such as ethylene oxide (ETO) and formaldehyde. The measured biomarkers were: clinical laboratory routine tests, completed with genotoxicological (chromosome aberrations [CA], sister chromatid exchange [SCE]), and immune-toxicological monitoring (ratio of lymphocyte subpopulations, lymphocyte activation markers, and leukocyte oxidative burst). The highest rate of genotoxicologically affected donors (25.4%) was found in the group of cytostatic drug-exposed nurses. Comparing geno- and immunotoxicological effect markers, we found that among genotoxicologically affected donors the frequency of helper T cell (Th) lymphocytes, the ratio of activated T and B cells increased, whereas the oxidative burst of leukocytes decreased. In hospitals with lack of protective measures increased CA yields were observed compared to those with ISO 9001 quality control or equivalent measures. Anemia, serum glucose level, thyroid dysfunctions, benign, and malignant tumors were more frequent in the exposed groups than in controls. The hygienic standard of the working environment is the basic risk factor for the vulnerability of nurses. On the basis of these results, it is suggested, that the used cytogenetic and immunological biomarkers are appropriate to detect early susceptibility to diseases. The Hungarian Nurse Study proved that the use of safety measures could protect against occupational exposure at work sites handling cytostatic drugs, anesthetic, and sterilizing gases.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving in a Chemical World
Subtitle of host publicationFraming the Future in Light of the Past
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)1573316539, 9781573316538
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Anesthetics
  • Chromosome aberrations
  • Cytostatics
  • Genotoxicological monitoring
  • HPRT mutations
  • Health status
  • Immune toxicology
  • Risk assessment
  • Sister chromatid exchange
  • Sterilizing agents
  • Tumors
  • Unscheduled DNA synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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  • Cite this

    Tompa, A., Jakab, M., Biró, A., Magyar, B., Fodor, Z., Klupp, T., & Major, J. (2006). Chemical safety and health conditions among Hungarian Hospital Nurses. In Living in a Chemical World: Framing the Future in Light of the Past (pp. 635-648). (Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences; Vol. 1076). Blackwell Publishing Inc..