Healthcare workers are increasingly being exposed to antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs. Studies show that cleaning, in combination with covering the filled vial with a plastic film, can reduce external contamination on vials. Several factors have contributed to the potential for increase in exposure of healthcare workers to antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs. These include increasing numbers of patients with cancer and other chronic illnesses, the use of higher doses of drugs (made possible by strategies to reduce the toxic side-effects of the drugs), noncancer use of antineoplastic drugs and the development of other potent drugs, such as antiviral agents. Because it has been well documented over the past 20 years that healthcare workers, especially pharmacists and nurses, are exposed to these drugs in the workplace, government institutions and professional organisations around the world have developed guidelines for the safe handling of antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs. In the USA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)l recently published an alert that lists recommendations for the safe handling of all hazardous drugs, of which antineoplastic drugs are the major class. Others classes of hazardous drugs include some hormonal, immunosuppressive and antiviral agents, monoclonal antibodies and several miscellaneous drugs.