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Preventing occupational exposures to antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs in health care settings.

Burroughs-GE; Connor-TH; McDiarmid-MA; Mead-KR; Power-LA; Reed-LD; Coyle-BJ; Hammond-DR; Leone-MM; Polovich-M; Sharpnack-DD
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-165, 2004 Sep; :1-50
Recent evidence summarized in this Alert 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.
Antineoplastic-agents; Pharmaceuticals; Health-care-personnel; Medical-personnel; Medical-treatment; Pharmaceutical-industry
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication; Alert
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-165
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
NORA Implementation
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division