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Chemical Contamination


The term chemical contamination is defined as the unintended exposure of a healthcare professional to hazardous drugs.

The American National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines a hazardous drug as any drug identified by at least one of the following criteria: carcinogenicity, teratogenicity or developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity in humans, organ toxicity at low doses in humans or animals, genotoxicity, or new drugs that mimic existing hazardous drugs in structure or toxicity[1]. 136 hazardous drugs are listed, including:

  • Chemotherapy/cytotoxic agents
  • Antibiotics /Antivirals
  • Bioengineered drugs
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Gene and hormone agents
  • Other miscellaneous drugs


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1. NIOSH. (2004) Preventing Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic and other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings.

To read the abstract go to the literature page.

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