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Health Care Workers and Antineoplastic Drugs: Identifying the Determinants of Exposure and Current Challenges to Reducing Exposure

This research aimed to identify the possible determinants of antineoplastic (anti-cancer) drug exposure, in order to develop an evidence-based approach to minimize the exposure risk. The researchers explored which factors are potential barriers to compliance with safe work procedures in order to facilitate changes in practices/attitudes

This study was aimed at better understanding the effectiveness of cleaning protocols in work environments where antineoplastic (anti-cancer) drugs are handled and prepared. A variety of health care workers, besides pharmacy personnel and drug administering nurses, are at risk of occupational exposure to antineoplastic drugs, which can have carcinogenic effects on healthy cells. The researchers calculated a risk estimate based on average contamination levels measured in research participants’ urine, and discovered that there was a slight increase in risk of cancer for health care workers who had absorbed the antineoplastic drug cyclophosphamide (CP), the drug used as the marker in this study

Based on these results, the researchers suggest that current protocols for eliminating surface contamination are not as effective as intended, and make recommendations for improving control and handling procedures to minimize worker exposure to these substances

Principal Investigators: Kay Teschke & Winnie Chu (UBC)
Co-investigators: George Astrakianakis (OHSAH); Chun-Yip Hon (UBC); Prescillia Chua (Fraser Health); Robin Ensom (Vancouver Coastal Health &Providence Health Care)
Funding Awarded: $263,325.70 (2 years)

Also available in: English
Competition Year: 2008 File type: PDF (5 MB) Asset type: Research Research: RS2008-OG01