Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

VETERINARY SAFETY AND HEALTH

Chemical Safety

Veterinary medicine and animal care workers are at risk of exposure to many different  chemical hazards  including glutaraldehyde and other disinfectants, hazardous drugs,  latex , pesticides, and waste anesthetic gases. Exposure to these chemicals may occur by dermal contact (touching the skin) and/or inhalation (being breathed in). Splashes may result in chemical contact with the skin, eyes, or mucous membranes.

Overview of Chemical Safety

 NIOSH: Chemical Safety 

 NIOSH Indoor Environmental Quality: Chemicals and Odors 

 NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards 

 ATSDR Toxic Substances Portal 

 American Association of Poison Control Centers 

 AVMA: Veterinary Facility Occupational Risks for Pregnant Workers 

Cover of publication 2010-150

Ammonia

 NIOSH: Ammonia 

Carbon Monoxide

 CDC Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

Cleaning Chemicals

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions and all product label precautions.
  • Do not mix different cleaning products; some mixtures produce toxic gases.

 New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services: Common Cleaning Products May Be Dangerous When Mixed 

Disinfectants

 CDC Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008 

 Iowa State University Center for Food Security and Public Health: Disinfection 

 Iowa State University Center for Food Security and Public Health: Veterinarians: Disinfectant Resources 

Some examples:

Hazardous Drugs

Some examples:

  • Antineoplastic and other hazardous drug exposures may occur when treating animals for cancer and other diseases.
  • Hormones may be a reproductive hazard to female veterinarians.
    • Follow product labels for handling restrictions and proper precautions.
  • Micotil 300®, an injectable macrolide antibiotic, may cause illness or death in people who are exposed through needlestick injuries, skin cuts, puncture wounds, or contact with skin or mucous membranes.
  • Chloramphenicol is banned for large animal use due to the risk of aplastic anemia in humans but is still used in small animals.

 NIOSH Occupational Exposure to Antineoplastic Agents 

 NIOSH Hazardous Drug Exposures in Healthcare 

 AVMA: Best Management Practices for Pharmaceutical Disposal 

 AVMA: Veterinary Facility Occupational Risks for Pregnant Workers 

 NIOSH Workplace Solution: Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs for Veterinary Health Care Workers 
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2010-150 (2010)
 En Español 

 NIOSH Personal Protective Equipment for Health Care Workers Who Work with Hazardous Drugs 
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009-106 (2008)

 NIOSH Workplace Solutions: Preventing Worker Deaths and Injuries When Handling Micotil 300<sup>&reg;</sup> 
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-124 (2007)

Hydrogen Sulfide

 NIOSH Hydrogen Sulfide 

 NIOSH ALERT: Preventing Deaths of Farm Workers in Manure Pits 

Laboratories

 OSHA Safety and Health Topic: Laboratories 

Latex

 NIOSH Occupational Latex Allergies 

 NIOSH Latex Allergy: A Prevention Guide 

 OSHA Laboratory Safety – Latex Allergy 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

 NIOSH Workplace Solution: Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs for Veterinary Health Care Workers 
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2010-150 (2010)
 En Espa&ntilde;ol 

 NIOSH Personal Protective Equipment for Health Care Workers Who Work with Hazardous Drugs  DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2009-106 (2008)

NIOSH [2005].  NIOSH respirator selection logic 2004  DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005–100.

Pesticides

Exposures to workers may occur:

  • when treating animals for fleas, ticks, or mites.
  • when working with animals who have been treated with pesticides.

 National Pesticide Information Center 

 EPA Pesticide Health and Safety 

Phosphine gas

Exposures to workers may occur when treating:

  • animals that have ingested rodenticides containing zinc phosphide
  • animals that have ingested insecticides containing aluminum phosphide

 CDC Medical Management Guidelines for Phosphine 

 AVMA Phosphine product precautions 

 National Pesticide Information Center Zinc phosphide/phosphine Technical Fact sheet 

 EPA Registration Eligibility Decision Facts: Zinc phosphide 

 Journal abstract: Proudstreet AT [2009 ] Aluminum and zinc phosphide poisoning. Clin Toxicol 47:89-100. 

Waste anesthetic gases

Exposure to nitrous oxide, halothane, isoflurane and other waste anesthetic gases may occur during veterinary dentistry and surgical procedures.

 American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists: Control of Waste Anesthetic Gases in the Workplace 

 OSHA Safety and Health Topic: Waste Anesthetic Gases 

 NIOSH Nitrous Oxide 

 NIOSH Waste Anesthetic Gases: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals 
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-151 (September 2007)
 En Espa&ntilde;ol 

Waste Disposal

 AVMA Waste Disposal by Veterinary Practices: What Goes Where? 

 AVMA Best Management Practices for Pharmaceutical Disposal 

 National Center for Manufacturing Sciences Veterinary Compliance Assistance 

 
Contact Us:
  • Page last reviewed: July 23, 2012
  • Page last updated: August 28, 2012
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO