Call for protective action for night workers following cancer risk

A trade union leader has called for the government to take action to protect night and shift workers after a study found they were had an increased risk of suffering from cancer, a media report said Saturday.

Call for protective action for night workers following cancer risk

Mung Siu-tat, organizing co-ordinator of the Federation of Trade Unions, said the government should set compulsory rest hours for night-shift workers, who often had insufficient breaks, the South China Morning Post said.

Up to 400,000 people in Hong Kong could be at increased risk of contracting cancer.

Mung said that employee compensation laws should also be changed to make shift work an occupational hazard and allow workers to claim compensation if the link between night work and cancer was established.

This followed a report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, that night and shift work should be put in the same category as cancer-causing agents like ultraviolet radiation, diesel-engine exhaust and anabolic steroids.

This is because night work disrupts the body's biological clock and suppresses the nighttime production of melatonin, which can fight tumour development.

Researchers said that more work was needed because the focus of study so far has been on nurses and airline crews. Studies have shown women working at night are at higher risk of contracting breast cancer, while men working at night could have a higher risk of prostate cancer.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Aralık 2007, 10:04