Reducing workplace cytotoxic surface contamination using a closed-system drug transfer device

J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2010 Mar;16(1):19-25. doi: 10.1177/1078155209352543. Epub 2009 Dec 4.


Background: The potential for staff exposure to antineoplastic agents exists in the workplace despite current recommended safe handling procedures. Reliance on cytotoxic drug safety cabinets (CDSC) to provide total protection from exposure to hazardous drugs is insufficient. Preventing workplace contamination is the best strategy to minimise exposure. PhaSeal is a commercially available system for ensuring the leak-free transfer of hazardous drugs, fitting both the NIOSH and ISOPP definitions of a closed system. To date, there have been no published studies examining the use of a closed system drug transfer device (PhaSeal) under Australian conditions.The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of a closed system drug transfer device on cytotoxic surface contamination in the cytotoxic preparation areas of two Australian metropolitan public hospitals.

Method: This was a pre- and post-intervention study in which chemical contamination was tested at baseline then at five and 12 months after the introduction of the a closed system drug transfer device. Cyclophosphamide was used as a surrogate marker for all cytotoxic drugs. Surface wipe sampling was performed at specified sites within the cytotoxic suite using a standardized technique. Commercial products of cyclophosphamide were also sampled.

Results: After five months, contamination was reduced in 13 of the 22 sites sampled (59%), with four of these samples showing undetectable levels of contamination. Two other site samples (9%) remained unchanged. The total contamination of surfaces tested was reduced by 24%. After five months hospital 1 withdrew from the study. After 12 months, surface contamination was reduced in 75% of sample sites. The total contamination of surfaces tested was reduced by 68%. The wipes of the external surface of commercial products detected cyclophosphamide contamination.

Conclusion: When used inside a CDSC, the closed system drug transfer device PhaSeal further reduces surface contamination, in some instances to undetectable levels.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / analysis*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / poisoning
  • Australia
  • Cyclophosphamide / analysis
  • Cyclophosphamide / poisoning
  • Drug Compounding / instrumentation*
  • Drug Packaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment and Supplies, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Hazardous Substances / analysis*
  • Hazardous Substances / poisoning
  • Health Facility Environment / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital* / methods
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Surface Properties
  • Time Factors
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Cyclophosphamide