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Surface wipe sampling for antineoplastic (chemotherapy) and other hazardous drug residue in healthcare settings: methodology and recommendations.

Connor TH; Zock MD; Snow AH
J Occup Environ Hyg 2016 Sep; 13(9):658-667
Purpose: Surface wipe sampling for various hazardous agents has been employed in many occupational settings over the years for various reasons such as evaluation of potential dermal exposure and health risk, source determination, quality or cleanliness, compliance, and others. Wipe sampling for surface residue of antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs in healthcare settings is currently the method of choice to determine surface contamination of the workplace with these drugs. The purpose of this article is to review published studies of wipe sampling for antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs, to summarize the methods in use by various organizations and researchers, and to provide some basic guidance for conducting surface wipe sampling for these drugs in healthcare settings. Methods: Recommendations on wipe sampling methodology from several government agencies and organizations were reviewed. Published reports on wipe sampling for hazardous drugs in numerous studies were also examined. The critical elements of a wipe sampling program and related limitations were reviewed and summarized. Results: Recommendations and guidance are presented concerning the purposes of wipe sampling for antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs in the healthcare setting, technical factors and variables, sampling strategy, materials required, and limitations. The reporting and interpretation of wipe sample results is also discussed. Conclusions: It is recommended that all healthcare settings where antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs are handled consider wipe sampling as part of a comprehensive hazardous drug "safe handling" program. Although no standards exist for acceptable or allowable surface concentrations for these drugs in the healthcare setting, wipe sampling may be used as a method to characterize potential occupational dermal exposure risk and to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented controls and the overall the safety program. A comprehensive safe-handling program for antineoplastic drugs may utilize wipe sampling as a screening tool to evaluate environmental contamination and strive to reduce contamination levels as much as possible, using the industrial hygiene hierarchy of controls.
Antineoplastic agents; Hazardous drugs; Hazards; Sampling; Exposure levels; Risk factors; Dermal exposures; Drugs; Health care facilities; Medical facilities; Worker health; Health care personnel; Health care workers; Medical personnel; Safety measures; Safety; Safety programs; Surface properties; Industrial hygiene; Author Keywords: Antineoplastic drugs; exposure assessment; hazardous drugs; surface wipe sampling healthcare settings
Thomas H. Connor, PhD, Division of Applied Research and Technology, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
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Fiscal Year
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Source Name
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division