Nurses face many chemical hazards in the workplace. Hazardous drugs, commercial cleaning products, sterilants/disinfectants, and pesticides are just a few examples. RNs (and their employers) need to know how best to protect themselves, co-workers, patients, the broader community, and the environment from unwanted exposures.
In 2006, the ANA’s House of Delegates (HOD) approved the resolution “Nursing Practice, Chemical Exposure and Right-to-Know”. This document resolves to “…advance(s) an enhanced organizational initiative to educate nurses about the potentially harmful chemicals that are typically used in the healthcare settings including currently available safer protects for substitution… (and) endorses efforts to ensure that nurses have full access to information and the right-to-know about the potentially hazardous chemicals to which nurses, other healthcare workers, patients, and communities in general are exposed.”
As nurses, we can lead the health care industry in advocating for decreased toxic chemical use, safer substitutes, transparent product and chemical component testing, safety data availability and ensuring adequate labeling.