Publication details

Levels and risks of antineoplastic drugs in households of oncology patients, hospices and retirement homes

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Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Environmental Sciences Europe
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Hazardous drugs; Surface contamination; Antineoplastic drugs; Cyclophosphamide; Patient homes
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Description Background Contamination of the indoor environment by antineoplastic drugs (ADs) is known to pose health risks to the exposed staff in hospitals or pharmacies. ADs may also contaminate households of the patients receiving chemotherapy, but the exposure levels and potential risks to family members have not been studied. The objective was to provide an in-depth research of surface contamination by ADs inside homes focusing on the households of oncology patients, hospices, and retirement houses. Methods The study was carried out in 17 patient households, 2 hospices, and 3 retirement homes. Surfaces were sampled using a standardized approach and the wipe samples were analyzed by UPLC-MS for 11 organic ADs and by ICP-MS/MS for total Pt as a marker of Pt-based ADs. Results The main study included repeated samplings of surfaces (floors, desktops) in households of 17 ambulant oncology patients receiving different chemotherapies with cyclophosphamide (CP), platinum-based drugs (Pt), doxorubicin (DOX), 5-fluorouracil (FU) and others. Patients treated with chemotherapy were found to serve as a source of contamination for their households, representing thus a risk to sensitive family members such as children or elderly people. Carcinogenic CP was commonly found at relatively high concentrations, especially during the first 6 days after the chemotherapy (maximum 511 pg/cm(2)). Sweat seems to be a major medium for the spread of the contamination, and high and long-time persisting CP levels (traces still found after 6 months post-chemotherapy) were found on various desktops including kitchen dining tables. The pilot studies in hospices and retirement homes indicated rather lower exposure risks of the personnel but pointed to potential long-lasting contamination by Pt or some other persistent ADs such as ifosfamide (IF). Conclusions This is one of the first studies investigating the contamination by ADs in indoor environments outside of hospitals or pharmacies. Peak concentrations of the carcinogenic CP in households were comparable to those observed in hospitals, but the temporal exposures are likely to cause lower risks to family members and caregivers compared to the long-time occupationally exposed health care personnel. The information guidance flier with practical recommendations was prepared improving thus information as well as prevention of eventual risks for family members.
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