IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Potential Exposure to Antineoplastics in a Hospital Environment: Pilot Study on Cleaning and Sanitation Tasks


Some antineoplastic drugs used to treat cancer are themselves classified as carcinogens and can have other toxic effects on workers who handle them. Exposure mainly occurs dermally, through direct contact with the drug, or indirectly, through touching contaminated surfaces. A study led by the Unité de recherché en pratique pharmaceutique (pharmaceutical practice research unit) showed that many surfaces touched by care and pharmacy staff were positive for the three antineoplastics measured: methotrexate, cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide. However, there are no data regarding exposure of cleaning and sanitation staff.

The objective of this activity is to study the potential exposure of workers to antineoplastics while performing cleaning and sanitation tasks in a hospital environment by measuring contamination levels on frequently touched surfaces. The researchers also wanted to validate an analytical method for two other ANPs frequently used in Québec: gemcitabine and 5-flourouracil. The findings could eventually help guide prevention activities in the hospital environment.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2014-0001
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2020