Cytotoxic Chemicals in Chemo Drugs Are Dangerous to Families, Caregivers, and the Environment

Are Your Chemo Drugs Dangerous?

The large majority of chemotherapy drugs do not create a risk of contamination. The small number of cytotoxic drugs that do, however, are extremely dangerous.

Start by checking our list of "Problem Chemotherapy Drugs."

If you are taking or will be taking any of the drugs on this list, don't panic.

It is surprisingly simple to protect your family and the environment from secondhand chemo drug dangers.

Contact us to help you understand and protect against the dangers of secondhand chemo.


American Cancer Society
Chemotherapy Principles (PDF)

World Health Organization
Safe Management of Waste from Health Care Activities (PDF)

Environmental Science and Technology / Vol. 40, No. 23
Occurance and Fate of the Cytostatic Drugs Cyclophosophamide and Ifosfamide in Wastewater and Surface Waters

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry / Vol. 28, No. 12
Environmental Footprint of Pharmeceuticals: The Significance of Factors Beyond Direct Excretion to Sewers

“There is no safe level of exposure.”

– OSHA Technical Manual

Many HD’s (hazardous drugs) are known human carcinogens,for which there is no safe level of exposure. The development of secondary malignancies is a well-documented side effect of chemotherapy treatment.”

Cytotoxic drugs that are used in chemotherapy to help cure cancer patients can cause cancer and birth defects in anyone that is exposed to them.

Pregnant women, babies and children are particularly vulnerable due to the DNA-damaging effect of cytotoxic drugs on rapidly dividing cells.

Indisputable Facts About Chemo Drug Dangers

There are many well-documented, long-known facts about cytotoxic chemicals:

1.  There is “No Safe Level of Exposure” (from OSHA) of cytotoxic drugs

2.  Chemotherapy patients excrete these drugs in an ACTIVE STATE for various time frames after each infusion

3.  Exposure causes DNA to be damaged, leading to cancer and birth defects

4. Septic systems are not designed to handle these powerful drugs

5. In the environment, Cyclophosphamide, very commonly used to treat breast cancer, and Ifosfamide, another drug that is frequently used to treat various cancers, are untreatable by ANY type of wastewater treatment or purification 

6. Cyclophosphamide and Ifosfamide can survive intact for extremely long periods of time

Worker protections are in place.

Leading medical, drug and waste management organizations and associations advise of the occupational hazards of exposure to cytotoxic drugs.

From drug production, packaging and transportation to preparation, administration and disposal, strict safety protocols are followed to protect employees from the risk of accidental exposure.

Yet each and every day the family members and caregivers of chemotherapy patients are unwittingly exposed to these dangers chemicals.

Patients are not properly informed.

It is surprisingly simple to protect families, caregivers, and the environment from these dangers, yet patients either do not receive warnings or they are not told how very important they are.

The public has been slowly realizing the problems that these hazardous drugs are to humans as well as the environment.

Serious damage has already been done

To reduce the number of new cancers and birth defects from accidental exposure, as well as protect the public drinking water supply, we must ensure:

  • Hospitals, nursing homes and treatment centers take proper steps to keep cytotoxic chemicals out of the wastewater in their facilities.
  • Patients receive explicit information about the dangers as well as the tools they need to help keep their families, caregivers and our environment safe.ecautions are not taken, these drugs are highly likely to contaminate their home environment.
  • In fact, studies published in 2013 and 2014 have documented exposure and contamination of chemotherapy patient’s home settings as well as their family members.