Article Content

A recent article by Martha Polovich, MN, RN, AOCNA, in the online Journal of Issues in Nursing (September 30, 2004) titled "Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs" brings attention to the issue highlighted in an alert from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), "Reducing Occupational Exposure to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings."


Anticancer drugs are genotoxic, and can cause birth defects, miscarriage, and even cancer. The NIOSH Alert reflects years of work by physician, nurse, pharmacist, and scientific experts in collaboration with members of the broad-based NIOSH Hazardous Drug Safe Handling working group. As a member of the working group, Polovich represents the Oncology Nursing Society, and has worked with cancer patients and administered these drugs since 1980.


PhaSeal is a closed system designed to assist with hazardous drug handling. Thanks to pharmacy safety initiatives led by the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, nearly 200 US hospitals are using PhaSeal, the only closed system for safe handling of hazardous drugs, according to Baxa Corporation, the exclusive US distributor.


Other major US hospitals now using the PhaSeal System include Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Stanford University Medical Center, and the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics. Globally, according to PhaSeal manufacturer Carmel Pharma ab, it is estimated that approximately 75 million preparations of cytotoxic drugs are formulated each year. Of those, 25 million are performed in the United States and 25 million in Europe. By using PhaSeal, most of the handling of these drugs can be environmentally safe.


Baxa Corporation provides devices and systems for the preparation, handling, packaging, and administration of liquid medications, and is the US distributor of PhaSeal, the only closed system that prevents the workplace contamination threats delineated in both Polovich's article and the NIOSH Alert.


For more information on the PhaSeal system, visit