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Control of occupational exposure to hazardous drugs.

Burroughs G
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2002 Jun; :29
Many of the prescription pharmaceuticals that improve the health of ill people have just the opposite effect on the healthy workers involved in their preparation and administration. NIOSH research into the evaluation and control of occupational exposures to hazardous drugs, chiefly those used for cancer chemotherapy and HIV treatment, was initiated to determine the effectiveness of controls to reduce all routes of exposure for pharmacy workers who prepare the drugs for use and the nursing staff who administer these medications. A working group of approximately 50 representatives from organizations with interest in this problem was formed to collaborate on this investigation. That working group approached this problem looking at the applicability of each element of the hierarchy of controls, that is engineering control, administrative control, and personal protective equipment (PPE). This presentation reviews the NIOSH Alert developed in this project, and outlines the major findings to date in the control of exposures. The Alert defines a hazardous drug, describes the problems associated with their use, summarizes current exposure guidelines and control recommendations, and provides case studies. Other control findings beyond those presented in the Alert include: 1) data on the level of worker protection provided and varying air flow patterns utilized by biological safety cabinets used in this work, 2) effective- ness of devices to reduce aerosolization of product, 3) distribution of information and development of training for potentially exposed individuals, and 4) results of a laboratory evaluation of the permeability of a variety of PPE materials to selected drugs. Future work calls for an intervention study that looks at the effectiveness of a variety of engineering controls by monitoring air and surface drug levels before and after the introduction of those controls.
Occupational-exposure; Hazards; Drugs; Pharmaceuticals; Worker-health; Cancer; Chemotherapy; Pharmacy-workers; Exposure-levels; Personal-protective-equipment
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division