Occupational exposure to antineoplastic agents can have a dangerous impact on those who handle them.
Antineoplastic agents are used in cytotoxic drugs and cancer chemotherapy drugs. They are generally used for the treatment of patients who suffer from cancer. Besides this, they are also used for some non-cancer patients. Antineoplastic agents are useful for the patients who are suffering from a fatal disease like cancer. They destroy the cancerous cells and are beneficial for the treatment of cancer. They play a very significant role in chemotherapy. Antineoplastic agents are indispensable for such patients.
Occupational Exposure to Antineoplastic Agents
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is set up to ensure a safe and healthful working environment for the workers. It conducts research, collects information, provides training, and tries to prevent work related illness and injury.
Research conducted by the NIOSH shows that the antineoplastic agents are harmful for the cancerous cells but they harm the healthy cells and tissues also.
So the people who handle the agents are exposed to their dangerous impact. There are a number of people who are involved in jobs where they are susceptible to this exposure. These include:
- The health care workers who work with the cancer patients can easily be harmed by the antineoplastic agents.
- The doctors who treat the patients can be vulnerable to the harmful impact of the agents.
- The nurses who administer the treatment like chemotherapy may be exposed to the negative influence of the agents.
- The pharmacists who prepare the drugs using these agents can suffer due to contact with them.
- The workers who handle the packaging and shipping of the drugs may accidentally come into contact with the agents and expose themselves to the harmful effect of the antineoplastic agents.
- The operating room personnel are also vulnerable to its negative influence.
- The hospital staff may be exposed to the risk while handling the drugs.
- The agents may be harmful for the custodial workers.
- The laundry workers who wash the linen used by the cancer patients may be exposed to it.
- The waste handlers of the hospital may come into contact with the agents.
So due care should be taken to reduce the amount of exposure or eliminate it all together.
Antineoplastic agents are also used extensively in veterinary oncology. This increases the exposure of the workers to these agents.
The Impact of Antineoplastic Agents
Research has shown that exposure to antineoplastic agents is harmful for the environment and the workers. A number of biological endpoints have been utilized to evaluate the exposure of workers. They include:
- Urine mutagenicity
- Micronuclei induction
- Chromosomal damage
- DNA damage
- Thioether excretion
- Sister chromatid exchange
- HPRT mutations
Suitable steps should be taken to protect the various occupational groups who prepare or administer the drugs. They are likely to suffer the most due to exposure to these antineoplastic agents. Efforts should be made to cut down the level of exposure or eliminate it if possible.
St. Louis Workmens Comp Lawyer
If you have suffered health problems due to exposure to antineoplastic agents in the workplace, you should discuss your rights with a St. Louis worker injury lawyer.