CDC finds improper handling of chemotherapy drugs

Today’s Veterinary Business reported that veterinary professionals have higher exposure to chemotherapy drugs than counterparts in human medicine because they are not taking proper precautions, say researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC research project – “Bridging the Gap between Human and Veterinary Medicine: Different Patients, Same Hazardous Drugs” – identified the challenges veterinary professionals encounter in handling these drugs safely.

Deborah V.L. Hirst, Ph.D., acting deputy chief of the Engineering and Physical Hazards Branch of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), said she hopes the project will help bridge a gap between veterinary and human medicine in use of technologies and practices that protect workers against hazardous drug exposure. “Literature has shown us that cost, time, discomfort and inconvenience are some of the barriers for veterinary health care workers and handling hazardous drugs safely,” Dr. Hirst said. “During our research, we commonly saw workers wear disposable gowns for the entire day of chemotherapy treatments instead of disposing of them after each treatment or wear the gowns until they were visibly damaged.”