Safe Handling Awareness Month to Focus on Exposure to Hazardous Drugs

April has been designated the first-ever Safe Handling Awareness Month--a national campaign to protect the health and wellbeing of the oncology health care professionals who devote their lives to helping others by raising awareness of the risks, guidelines, and safety measures associated with handling hazardous drugs. A highlight of the month of regional events will be a free, one-hour safe handling CE webinar addressing the proper handling of hazardous drugs on April 20, which has been set aside as the inaugural Safe Handling Awareness Day. Columbus, Ohio-based Carmel Pharma Inc., the official sponsor of both Safe Handling Awareness Month and the webinar, is all health care professionals to participate in the online event.

Noting the need for this special awareness month, Carmel Pharma cites NIOSH's report stating that "working with or near hazardous drugs in health care settings may cause skin rashes, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and possibly leukemia or other cancers." In fact, the sponsor adds, the World Health Organization predicts a 50-percent increase of cancer cases over the next 20 years, and this increase, combined with more potent chemotherapy drugs--as well as an increase in the use of hazardous drugs to treat non-malignant illnesses--will continue to elevate risk of exposure. A national survey conducted by the Environmental Working Group, the American Nurses Association, Health Care Without Harm, and the Environmental Health Education Center at the University of Maryland School of Nursing confirms the problem, likewise showing that there are links between nurses' occupational exposure to hazardous drugs and the health problems they develop such as cancer, asthma, miscarriages, and children's birth defects.

The webinar will take place April 20 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST. To register, go to www.statce.com/safehandling/. The event will be archived and available on demand. For more information on National Safe Handling Awareness Month/Day and a listing of the regional events surrounding it, or in general on the safe handling of hazardous drugs, visit www.carmelpharmausa.com/aware5.

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