Assessing variability of antineoplastic drugs handling practices in clinical settings

Susan Arnold, Hannah M. Kaup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Chapter <800> guidelines will be adopted in the U.S. and Canada in 2019, requiring regular surface sampling for antineoplastic drug (AD) surface contamination as a means of environmental surveillance. USP Chapter <800> does not provide guidance on when and where to sample. Research to support the development of such guidance within a broader sampling strategy is limited. This study was conducted to help address some of the underlying information gaps by identifying surfaces pharmacy and nursing staff are likely to contact, presenting a potential dermal exposure risk. Observations were conducted at one regional and one urban clinic, providing insight into inter- and intra-worker variability and between-clinic differences based on size and patient load. Thirteen surfaces in the compounding pharmacies and 14 surfaces in the patient administration were initially selected for video observations. Following a preliminary assessment to eliminate surfaces that were touched infrequently or not at all, five commonly touched surfaces in the compounding pharmacy areas (vials, syringes, IV lines, IV bags, waste bags) and six commonly touched surfaces in the patient administration area (yellow containment bag, IV bag, IV line, patient port, computer workstation) were assessed further. Variability between healthcare staff and clinics in pharmacy staff was low for both the mean frequency and duration of touch to surfaces. Differences between clinics in frequency of contact among nursing staff in patient administration areas were significant (two-way ANOVA) for five of the six surfaces. Duration of contact was not significantly different except for duration of touching the IV pump. These insights will be used to give guidance in selecting locations for a longitudinal surveillance study and help tailor worker training to reduce exposure risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-762
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental hygiene
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by the Society of Chemical Hazard Communication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 JOEH, LLC.


  • Chemotherapy
  • environmental contamination
  • exposure assessment
  • oncology nursing
  • oncology pharmacy
  • surveillance


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