Hazardous Drugs

Hazard Recognition

A recently published OSHA technical document entitled, "Controlling Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Drugs" provides updated the scientific literature on hazardous drugs. For some years, NIOSH, the FDA, and OSHA undertook a bi-ennial review of old and new drugs, classified them in a consensus process to their degree of hazard and usability, and posted that list through a systematic process. The most recent list is posted in the NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings, 2014.

Healthcare workers may be exposed to other agents and classes of agents with similar effects, like waste anesthetic gases in the operating room, in recovery rooms, and in dental offices.

Exposure assessment for hazardous drugs remains controversial. The review above outlines current limitations, and NIOSH has webpages both on biological monitoring and exposure assessment.

The following references aid in recognizing and controlling hazards associated with hazardous drugs in the workplace.