CDC Publishes Information on Reducing Worker Exposure to Hazardous Drugs

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A draft NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin on recommendations for reducing worker exposure to reproductive risks of drugs is available for public comment.


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Jan. 15, 2015 the availability of a draft Current Intelligence Bulletin, "Reproductive Risks Associated with Hazardous Drug Exposures in Healthcare Workers and Recommendations for Reducing Exposures," which is open for public comment until Mar. 24, 2015. The NIOSH bulletin reviews and summarizes all published studies on adverse reproductive effects of occupational exposures to antineoplastic agents (e.g., chemotherapy or cytotoxic drugs), gives recommendations on reducing risk, and seeks further information for the Institute's evaluation.

Hazardous drugs, especially antineoplastic drugs, are some of the most potent teratogenic chemicals known. They can affect germinal cells and reproduction, and exposures can result in spontaneous abortion. The NIOSH document summarizes results of animal studies, occupational epidemiology studies, and adverse effects that have been observed in patients treated with these drugs. The Institute notes that extra precautions are needed when these drugs are handled by both males and females who are trying to conceive, women who may become or who are pregnant, and women who are breast-feeding. Further information regarding occupational exposure to antineoplastic agents can be found on the CDC website.


NIOSH is seeking additional information to evaluate the appropriateness of the guidance, its effect on work practices, confidentiality issues, and financial impact. The Institute is seeking relevant information, including published and unpublished reports and research findings.

Source: NIOSH