If I have cancer, how do I safely clean up a chemotherapy medication spill?

A spill kit should be used if chemotherapy medication should spill. The spill kit contains all of the supplies you need. Here's what to do if there is a chemotherapy spill:

Protect others. Make sure no one comes in contact with the chemotherapy.
Use the spill kit. Open the spill kit and follow the instructions on the outside of the box.
Protect yourself. Put on gloves and other protective items such as a mask and gown.
Use the hazard bag. Place everything used to clean up the spill in a special chemo hazard bag.
Do not throw the bag in the regular trash. Do not leave the bag where it may be opened or disturbed by children or pets.
Notify your nurse about the spill. The nurse will:
  • Tell you what to do with the bag of hazardous waste
  • Contact your doctor to decide what needs to be done about any missed doses
  • Arrange for you to get a new spill kit
If you are receiving home intravenous chemotherapy, keep a spill kit in your home. To clean up chemotherapy medication spills:
  1. Put on gloves.
  2. Use paper towels to pick up or wipe spilled medicine. Place spilled medicine, gloves and paper towels in a plastic bag.
  3. Wash the area with clean paper towels and soap and water.
  4. Rinse and dry the area well.
  5. Place the gloves and paper towels in the plastic bag.
  6. Seal the bag tightly. Throw it out with the home garbage.
  7. Wash your hands with soap and water.
If you spill medicine on your skin, wash right away with soap and water.

If you spill medicine in your eye, rinse out your eye with fast-running lukewarm water for five minutes. Keep the affected eye open while rinsing. Then call the regional poison control center for your area. (An eye exam may be needed after any spill in the eyes.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.