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April 2009 Declared National Safe Handling Awareness Month

National Campaign Aims to Protect Healthcare Workers from Hazardous Drug Exposure

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- In an act to further education surrounding the safe handling of hazardous drugs in the healthcare setting, April 2009 has been declared the first-ever National Safe Handling Awareness Month with Monday, April 20, 2009 being declared the first-ever National Safe Handling Awareness Day.

The proclamation of National Safe Handling Awareness Month follows the need for increased safe handling cognizance given the known risks associated with exposure to hazardous drugs (such as chemotherapy agents). According to an alert published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), "working with or near hazardous drugs in healthcare settings may cause skin rashes, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects and possibly leukemia or other cancers.(1) Further evidence to support the need to take action in this area may be found below.

In recognition of National Safe Handling Awareness Month, a variety of regional and national continuing education (CE) activities will be scheduled throughout April. The headline event, a complimentary, nationwide CE webcast, will take place on April 20th from 1:00-2:00pm EST. The event will be followed by a live "Ask the Experts" session featuring today's industry thought leaders:

    Keynote speakers:
    Byron Peters, RPh
    Director of Pharmacy
    Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine, St.
    Louis, MO

    MiKaela Olsen, RN, MS, OCN
    Oncology and Hematology Clinical Nurse Specialist
    Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

    Guest Speaker:
    James Jorgenson, RPh, MS, FASHP
    Executive Director, Pharmacy Services
    Clarian Health Partners, Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, IN

This initiative is supported by an unrestricted educational grant provided by Carmel Pharma, Inc. - the official sponsor of National Safe Handling Awareness Month and the maker of PhaSeal(R), the only clinically proven closed-system drug transfer device (CSTD) for the safe handling of hazardous drugs.

Participants may visit for more information or to register for the program.

The Importance of Safe Handling

  • The World Health Organization predicts a 50 percent increase of cancer cases over the next 20 years; this, combined with more potent chemotherapy drugs - as well as an increase in the use of hazardous drugs to treat non-malignant illnesses - will continue to elevate risk of exposure.(2)
  • Two separate studies investigating the toxicity in healthcare personnel who handle cytotoxic (hazardous) drugs revealed a 40-50 percent increased risk for miscarriage. A total of 7094 pregnancies of 2976 pharmacy and nursing staff were examined.(3),(4)
  • A national survey conducted by the Environmental Working Group, the American Nurses Association, Health Care Without Harm and the Environmental Health Education Center at the University of Maryland School of Nursing showed that there are links between nurses' occupational exposure to hazardous drugs and the health problems they develop such as cancer, asthma, miscarriages and children's birth defects.(5)

About Safe Handling Awareness Month

April has been designated the first-ever National Safe Handling Awareness Month in an effort to raise awareness of the occupational risks associated with handling hazardous drugs and educate healthcare providers on the U.S. guidelines and safety measures that may be taken to prevent hazardous drug exposure. As the highlight of National Safe Handling Awareness Month, National Safe Handling Awareness Day will bring together national and regional educational opportunities collectively aimed at preserving the health and wellbeing of the oncology healthcare professionals who devote their lives to helping others. National Safe Handling Awareness Month and National Safe Handling Awareness Day are officially sponsored by Carmel Pharma, the maker of the PhaSeal(R) System - today's only clinically proven closed-system drug transfer device (CSTD) for the safe handling of hazardous drugs. For additional details on National Safe Handling Awareness Month/Day, visit or call 866-487-9250.

About Carmel Pharma (the maker of the PhaSeal(R) System)

The PhaSeal System is manufactured by Carmel Pharma ab in Gothenburg, Sweden and is distributed from its U.S. affiliate office, Carmel Pharma, Inc., in Columbus, OH. PhaSeal has been in use in the United States since 2000 and implemented in more than 1000 cancer facilities, infusion centers and private practices, including M.D. Anderson and Texas Children's in Houston, TX; City of Hope in Duarte, CA; Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA; SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford, IL; and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, just to name a few. For more information on Carmel Pharma or the PhaSeal System, please visit or email To request additional product details, high-resolution imagery, story ideas and expert references, or to learn more about the topic of safe handling from today's clinical thought leaders, please contact Emily Frydendal at 614-318-2635 or

(1) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The NIOSH Publication No. 2004-165 page. Available at: Accessed October 3, 2008.

(2) World Health Organization. The WHO Cancer Home page. Available at: Accessed October 3, 2008.

(3) Valanis B, Vollmer W, Steele P. Occupational exposure to antineoplastic agents: self-reported miscarriages and stillbirths among nurses and pharmacists. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 1999; 41(8): 632-638.

(4) Peelen S, Roeleveld N, Heederik D, Krombout H, de Kort W. Toxic effects on reproduction in hospital personnel. ISBN 90 5749 255 5.

(5) Environmental Working Group. The Nurses' Health page. Available at: Accessed October 3, 2008.

SOURCE Carmel Pharma
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