The USP General Chapter <800> provides guidelines for the handling of hazardous drugs (HDs) to protect healthcare workers, patients, and the environment from exposure to these substances.
Sterile chemo mats are useful during several steps of the process. They provide an ideal surface for unpacking HD’s and can help minimize the risk of contamination or spills.
Benefits and Use of Chemo Prep Mats
A chemo prep mat, also known as a chemotherapy preparation mat, is a specially designed mat that can help protect personnel and the environment from hazardous drug exposure during the preparation of chemotherapy drugs.
Using these mats are important because chemotherapy drugs can have harmful effects on anyone that handles them, as well as the environment. The mat can help contain any spills or leaks that may occur during drug preparation. They contain an absorbent poly-cellulose nonwoven surface and a plastic backing that limits chemicals from soaking through. This is critical to restricting any HD’s from being left on the preparation surface or coming into contact with other objects or equipment.
Typical Chemo Mat Use
Once inspected, hazardous drugs must be transferred to the HD storage area as soon as possible. Upon inspection, if no breakage is identified, they are transported to a C-PEC (Containment Primary Engineering Controls) and placed the chemo prep mat. Please refer to your facilities’ SOPs and local state laws for handling.
Recommendations for optimal use
It’s important to place the mat on a clean, flat surface to provide a stable and level workspace. Before handling HD’s, workers should also wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in accordance with their specific facility guidelines.
Once the workspace is prepared, the unpacking of the chemo mat can begin. Use the appropriate cleanroom wipe with 70% IPA to wipe down the exterior of the plastic packaging. Do not open it until it is in the prep space / C-PEC workstation where it will be used. Now is time to puncture the package with sterile scissors and remove the sterile mat from the plastic. Place the mat onto the appropriate workstation. Remove the plastic from your worksite and discard of in your cleanroom disposal site.
After the task is performed, any waste materials, including the used chemo mat, should be disposed of in accordance with applicable regulations and standards.
Steps for receiving hazardous drugs (HDs) according to USP <800>:
- Identification of hazardous drugs: The first step is to identify which drugs are considered hazardous according to the NIOSH list of antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs in healthcare settings. This list includes drugs that have been shown to have potential adverse health effects.
- Packaging and labeling: HDs should be packaged and labeled in accordance with applicable regulations and standards. The labeling should include the drug name, strength, and dosage form, as well as any handling precautions or protective equipment requirements.
- Receiving and unpacking: HDs should be received and unpacked in a designated area that is separate from other pharmaceuticals. This area should be well-ventilated and equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The receiving personnel should verify the contents of the shipment against the packing slip, and any discrepancies should be documented.
- Storage: HDs should be stored in a designated area that is separate from other pharmaceuticals, food, and medical supplies. The storage area should be secure, well-ventilated, and equipped with appropriate PPE. The storage area should be clearly labeled with the words “Hazardous Drugs” and display the universal biohazard symbol.
- Waste disposal: All packaging and materials used in the receipt of HDs should be disposed of as hazardous waste in accordance with applicable regulations and standards.
- Training: All personnel involved in the receipt of HDs should receive training on the hazards associated with these drugs, as well as proper handling and disposal procedures.
It’s important to note that these steps are only a summary of the requirements set forth in USP <800>, and facilities should consult the full chapter for complete guidance on handling hazardous drugs.
The information supplied in this document is for guidance only. Follow your specific cleanroom or company procedural manual before this guide.