BACKGROUND: A great number of antineoplastic drugs (ANPDs) are used globally in cancer treatment. Due to their adverse health effects, occupational exposure to ANPDs is considered a potential health risk to health care workers.
OBJECTIVE: The current study aimed to evaluate safe-handling practices of ANPDs, exposure controls, and adverse health implications for health care providers exposed to ANDPs.
METHODS: Prevention measures, including engineering, administrative, and work practice controls, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), were recorded daily through a questionnaire for six weeks. Acute adverse health effects experienced by health care workers were also documented.
RESULTS: The implemented exposure controls for preparation, administration, cleaning, and waste disposal were not in accordance with the safe handling guidelines. Central nervous system disorders (26.33%) were the most frequent acute adverse effects reported by health care workers. A significant correlation was found between the number of experienced adverse effects and handling characteristics, including the number of preparations (r = 0.38, p < 0.05), dose, and the number of prepared drugs (r = 0.46, p < 0.01 and 0.39, p < 0.05), and working hours in different locations of oncology setting for six weeks (preparation room: r = 0.38, P < 0.05, treatment room: r = 0.46, P < 0.01, patient room: r = 0.63, P < 0.01, and station: r = 0.68, P < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Due to inadequate control measures, oncology health care workers were in danger of exposure to ANPDs and experienced acute adverse health effects. Implementation of appropriate exposure controls is required to prevent occupational exposure to ANPDs.