Monday, September 8, 2014

NIOSH Updates List of Drugs That Endanger Healthcare Workers

Courtesy CDC
According to NIOSH estimates, 8 million U.S. healthcare workers are potentially exposed to hazardous drugs in the workplace. To help workers and employers better understand these hazards and prevent exposure, NIOSH has updated its List of Antineoplastic and other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings. NIOSH first published the list in 2004 as an appendix to "NIOSH Alert: Preventing Occupational Exposure to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings."

Drugs on the list include those used for cancer chemotherapy, antiviral drugs, hormones, some bioengineered drugs, and other miscellaneous drugs. NIOSH reports that the current list is comprised of drugs it has systematically reviewed according to the criteria in its definition of a hazardous drug (carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, reproductive toxicity, genotoxicity, organ toxicity at low doses, and drugs that mimic existing drugs in structure or toxicity). The updated list includes 27 drugs not found on previous lists, while 12 drugs that did not meet NIOSH’s criteria for hazardous drugs were removed. 

The document also includes guidance that healthcare facilities can use to generate a site-specific list of hazardous drugs and tips for evaluating a drug's hazard potential.