Antineoplastic drugs in veterinary clinics and hospitals: Are you at risk of
Antineoplastic drugs can change cellular functions at low dosage and are used to treat
cancer. If you work with or near antineoplastic drugs, you may be at risk of exposure and
potential effects on your health.
You may be exposed to antineoplastic drugs directly while handling these drugs, or
indirectly via contact with contaminated surfaces and objects in the workplace. Exposure to
antineoplastic drugs can occur through inhalation, absorption through skin or mucous
membranes, ingestion (eating with contaminated hands), or injection through a needlestick
Workers in veterinary settings who may be at risk include veterinarians, veterinary
technologists, technicians, and assistants, pharmacists, and support staff.
Workplace health and safety is a shared responsibility
Your employer is responsible for informing you of the risks in your workplace. They also
need to ensure you understand how to handle antineoplastic drugs properly and what risk
controls have been implemented to reduce your risk of exposure.
As a worker, you’re responsible for applying control mechanisms, such as safe work
procedures, to protect yourself and others. You also have a right to participate in workplace
health and safety activities and to refuse unsafe work.
For more information, see the WorkSafeBC webpage Antineoplastic drugs in veterinary
clinics and hospitals: Are you at risk of exposure?
You can find additional information on products that increase safety and decrease risk here: https://www.icumed.com/products/oncology/closed-system-transfer-devices