Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2004-165A
Recent evidence in the Alert summarized on this poster documents that worker exposure to hazardous drugs is a persistent problem. Although most air-sampling studies have not demonstrated significant airborne concentrations of these drugs, the sampling methods used in the past have come into question [Larson et al. 2003] and may not be a good indicator of contamination in the workplace. In all studies involving examination of surface wipe samples, researchers have determined that surface contamination of the workplace is common and widespread. Also, a number of recent studies have documented the excretion of several indicator drugs in the urine of health care workers. Results from studies indicate that worker exposure to hazardous drugs in health care facilities may result in adverse health effects. Appropriately designed studies have begun and are continuing to characterize the extent and nature of health hazards associated with these ongoing exposures. NIOSH is currently conducting studies to further identify potential sources of exposure and methods to reduce or eliminate worker exposure to these drugs. To minimize these potentially acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) effects of exposure to hazardous drugs at work, NIOSH recommends that at a minimum, employers and health care workers follow the recommendations presented in this Alert.