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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Health Care Workers Suffer Exposures to Antineoplastic Drugs

A recent study reveals that health care workers may be suffering from occupational exposure to chemotherapy drugs while treating cancer patients.

"Antineoplastic drugs are pharmaceuticals commonly used to treat cancer, which are generally referred to as 'chemotherapy'. Several studies have shown that exposure to antineoplastic drugs can cause toxic effects on reproduction as well as carcinogenic effects. Presence of these drugs in the urine of hospital personnel has been widely studied and dermal exposure has been suggested to be the main route of exposure. 

The main focus has been on handling the concentrated drug during preparation and administration of antineoplastic drugs and several approaches have been proposed on how to control those. Handling patient excreta has been considered to be potentially harmful to nurses working with cancer patients, since antineoplastic drugs are known to be present in patient excreta (e.g. urine, saliva, sweat, faeces, vomit), but this has not been studied in great detail in occupational exposure studies. 

The identification of occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs in sectors outside the hospital environment (i.e. veterinary medicine, home care, nursing homes and industrial laundries) showed that the number of workers potentially exposed to antineoplastic drugs is larger than previously estimated. "

Click here to read the series of articles in The Annals of Occupational Hygiene

Exposure to Antineoplastic Drugs in Two UK Hospital Pharmacy Units 
H. J. Mason, S. Blair, C. Sams, K. Jones, S. J. Garfitt, M. J. Cuschieri, and P. J. Baxter 

A Pooled Analysis to Study Trends in Exposure to Antineoplastic Drugs among Nurses 
Wouter Fransman, Susan Peelen, Simone Hilhorst, Nel Roeleveld, Dick Heederik, and Hans Kromhout 

Occupational Dermal Exposure to Cyclophosphamide in Dutch Hospitals: A Pilot Study 
Wouter Fransman, Roel Vermeulen, And Hans Kromhout 

Postulating a dermal pathway for exposure to anti-neoplastic drugs among hospital workers 
Hans Kromhout, Fred Hoek, Ruud Uitterhoeve, Roel Huijbers, Roderik F. Overmars, Rob Anzion, and Roel Vermeulen 

Occupational Exposure Limits for Therapeutic Substances 
Raymond Agius 


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