NIOSH Study Finds Antineoplastic Drug Handling Practices Are Not Always Followed

The study will be published in November in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

According to a news release from the CDC, NIOSH is publishing a new article in which it found that recommended safe handling practices for workers who administer antineoplastic drugs in healthcare settings are not always followed. The study will be published in the November issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. The results of this article stem from the 2011 Health and Safety Practices Survey of Healthcare Workers.

“Chemotherapy drugs save lives of cancer patients but also can result in adverse health outcomes in workers who are exposed to these drugs, including cancer, reproductive problems, and organ damage when recommended safe handling guidelines are not followed.” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D., in the statement. “Safeguarding healthcare workers from potential occupational hazards is an essential part of providing good jobs for these dedicated women and men, and furthering high-quality patient care.”

Some examples of practices that could increase exposure risk are: not always wearing two pairs of chemotherapy gloves or even a single pair; failure to always wear nonabsorbent gowns with closed front and tight fitting cuffs, and taking potentially contaminated clothing home.

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