Hazardous drug preparation in a biological safety cabinet

Photo credit: CriticalPoint, LLC


Health care workers who prepare or administer hazardous drugs (e.g., those used for cancer therapy, and some antiviral drugs, hormone agents, and bioengineered drugs) or who work in areas where these drugs are used may be exposed to these agents in the workplace. About 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs, including pharmacy and nursing personnel, physicians, operating room personnel, environmental services workers, workers in research laboratories, veterinary care workers, and shipping and receiving personnel.

Exposure to hazardous drugs can result in adverse health effects in healthcare workers. In fact, published studies have shown that workplace exposures to hazardous drugs can cause both acute and chronic health effects such as skin rashes, adverse reproductive outcomes (including infertility, spontaneous abortions, and congenital malformations), and possibly leukemia and other cancers. The health risk depends on how much exposure a worker has to these drugs and how toxic they are. Workers can be protected from exposures to hazardous drugs through engineering and administrative controls, and proper protective equipment.

If you have any questions regarding hazardous drugs please submit them to Email CDC-INFO or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636), TTY: 888-232-6348)

Update on the NIOSH List of Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings 2020

NIOSH requests public comment on the updated draft of the NIOSH List of Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, 2020, as well as the draft NIOSH Procedures for Developing the NIOSH List of Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, and the draft Managing Hazardous Drugs Exposures: Information for Healthcare Settings. There is a 60 day public comment period open from May 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2020. When these documents are finalized they will be published to the NIOSH website.

To view the draft document, visit https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/05/01/2020-09332/hazardous-drugs-draft-national-institute-for-occupational-safety-and-health-list-of-hazardous-drugs.external icon Individual documents can be found in the associated docket, CDC-2020-0046, here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=CDC-2020-0046external icon

NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, 2016

NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, 2016
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2016-161 (September 2016)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published this list of hazardous drugs in 2016. This list includes drugs reviewed by NIOSH from January 2012 to December 2013. This list  supersedes the 2004 list in the NIOSH Alert: Preventing Occupational Exposure to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings and the 2014 list of hazardous drugs. The format for the 2014 list was revised to include three groups of hazardous drugs: (1) Antineoplastic drugs; (2) Non-antineoplastic hazardous drugs; and (3) Drugs with reproductive effects. The 2016 list adds 34 drugs and includes a review of the 2004 list.

The review process for the addition of the new listings is described in a Federal Register Noticepdf icon.

Page last reviewed: May 4, 2020