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A story of impact: NIOSH list of hazardous drugs in healthcare settings allows healthcare workers to minimize exposure and reduce health risks.

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. 2011-189, 2011 Aug; :1-2
Modern society is fortunate to have powerful treatments available for a wide range of medical conditions. However, some useful medications can also have serious side effects. When using these drugs for medical treatment, doctors carefully control the dose and monitor the patient to minimize harmful consequences. But the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare workers who handle these medications are also being exposed and may also demonstrate adverse health effects. Hazardous drugs include drugs used for chemotherapy, antiviral drugs, hormones, and some immunosuppressant drugs - all of which may have damaging effects on the body. When these drugs must be prepared and administered, there are workplace best practices that can minimize potentially harmful exposure. These include the use of engineering controls such as biological safety cabinets, closed system transfer devices, needleless systems, and personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and gowns. In order to use this equipment appropriately and effectively, healthcare workers need to know which drugs pose a hazard. Starting in 2000, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) began working with multiple partners and stakeholders to address the issue of occupational exposure to hazardous drugs. The NIOSH Hazardous Drug Committee - with representatives from nursing and pharmacy professional associations, federal agencies, pharmaceutical companies, health and safety professionals, manufacturers of safety equipment, and academia - developed recommendations for how to minimize exposure when working with hazardous drugs.
Health-care-personnel; Health-care; Doctors; Nurses; Nursing; Medical-personnel; Medical-care; Pharmaceuticals; Pharmacists; Pharmacy-workers; Chemotherapy; Engineering-controls; Control-technology; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Protective-clothing; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication; Impact Sheet
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-189
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
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