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Chemotherapy Drug Exposure

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Concerns voiced by staff at an oncology clinic can help protect your workers, who may also handle hazardous drugs.

NIOSH posted a new Health Hazard Report prompted by a request from a Florida oncology clinic where staff members complained about upper respiratory irritation, headache, fainting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

The investigation revealed "platinum-containing chemotherapy drugs in most of the surface wipe samples, but not in hand wipe samples collected during the evaluation. Cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide were also found in some surface wipe samples," according to NIOSH.

Among the numerous recommendations for the employer and staff members to enact were:

  • Instruct employees and cleaning staff to clean work surfaces after chemotherapy drugs are used and at the end of each day.
  • Observe employee and patient activities in the checkout area to find where cross-contamination of chemotherapy drugs may occur.