Exposure of dangerous drugs in health care

Exposure of dangerous drugs in health care


The use of dangerous drugs (for example, drugs for cancer treatment, as well as some antiviral, hormonal and bioengineering drugs) can be harmful to health care workers and those who may be exposed to such dangerous drugs in the workplace. Approximately 8 million US health care workers may be exposed to dangerous drugs, including pharmacies and caregivers, doctors, operating room personnel, environmental service personnel, research laboratory staff, veterinary care workers, and transport and receiving personnel.


Exposure to dangerous drugs can have adverse health effects on healthcare professionals. In fact, studies have shown that workplace exposure to dangerous drugs can cause acute and chronic health effects such as rashes, adverse reproductive outcomes (including infertility, spontaneous abortion, and congenital malformations), as well as possible leukemia and other cancers.

Health risks depend on the exposure of workers to these drugs and their toxicity. Workers are protected from dangerous drugs through engineering and administrative controls and appropriate protective equipment.