The effectiveness of PPE against occupational exposure to chemotherapy agents
Hazardous drugs like chemotherapy agents can be absorbed through the skin, which is “the primary rationale for wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) during all stages of hazardous drug handling” (Eisenberg, 2016, p. 378). Occupational exposure to chemotherapy agents has been linked to “increased cancer occurrence; adverse reproductive outcomes, including infertility and miscarriage; fetal defects when expose during pregnancy; chromosomal damage; and symptoms such as nausea, allergic reactions and contact dermatitis” (Bouraoui et al., 2011; Dranitsaris et al., 2005; Durrieu, Rigal, Bugat, & Lapeyre-Mestre, 2004; El-Ebiary, Abuelfadl, & Sarhan, 2011; Fransman et al., 2007; Hemminki, Kyyrönen, & Lindbohm, 1985; Mader, Kokalj, Kratochvil, Pilger, & Rüdiger, 2009; McDiarmid, Rogers, & Oliver, 2014). In one study performed by Colvin, C., Karius, D., and Albert, N. (2016), it was observed that the rate of oncology nurses that followed the recommended guidelines for safe application of PPE when administering parenteral chemotherapy agents were “lower than expected” (p. 621). The purpose of this evidenced-based practice brief is to examine the amount of occupational exposure to chemotherapy agents in oncology nurses who follow PPE protocol in comparison to those who do not. Safety guidelines, such as double-gloving and proper disposal of chemotherapy agents and its associated equipment, provide nurses with the necessary expertise to safely and effectively administer hazardous drugs (Colvin, C., et al., 2016, p. 621).