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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 104, Issue 7, pp e460–e465 | Cite as

Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic Drugs and Ionizing Radiation in Canadian Veterinary Settings: Findings From a National Surveillance Project

  • Amy L. HallEmail author
  • Hugh W. Davies
  • Paul A. Demers
  • Anne-Marie Nicol
  • Cheryl E. Peters
Quantitative Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Objectives

Although veterinary workers may encounter various occupational health hazards, a national characterization of exposures is lacking in Canada. This study used secondary data sources to identify veterinary exposure prevalence for ionizing radiation and antineoplastic agents, as part of a national surveillance project.

Methods

For ionizing radiation, data from the Radiation Protection Bureau of Health Canada were used to identify veterinarians and veterinary technicians monitored in 2006. This was combined with Census statistics to estimate a prevalence range and dose levels. For antineoplastic agents, exposure prevalence was estimated using statistics on employment by practice type and antineoplastic agent usage rates, obtained from veterinary licensing bodies and peer-reviewed literature.

Results

In 2006, 7,013 (37% of all) Canadian veterinary workers were monitored for ionizing radiation exposure. An estimated 3.3% to 8.2% of all veterinarians and 2.4% to 7.2% of veterinary technicians were exposed to an annual ionizing radiation dose above 0.1 mSv, representing a total of between 536 and 1,450 workers. All monitored doses were below regulatory limits. For antineoplastic agents, exposure was predicted in up to 5,300 (23%) of all veterinary workers, with an estimated prevalence range of 22% to 24% of veterinarians and 20% to 21% of veterinary technicians.

Conclusion

This is the first national-level assessment of exposure to ionizing radiation and antineoplastic agents in Canadian veterinary settings. These hazards may pose considerable health risks. Exposures appeared to be low, however our estimates should be validated with comprehensive exposure monitoring and examination of determinants across practice areas, occupations, and tasks.

Key words

Veterinarians occupational exposure radiation antineoplastic agents Canada 

Résumé

Objectifs

Bien que les agents vétérinaires puissent être exposés à divers dangers pour la santé au travail, il manque au Canada une caractérisation nationale de ce type d’exposition. Dans le cadre d’un projet de surveillance national, nous avons utilisé des sources de données secondaires pour cerner la prévalence des expositions aux rayonnements ionisants et aux antinéoplasiques en milieu vétérinaire.

Méthode

Pour les rayonnements ionisants, les données du Bureau de la radioprotection de Santé Canada ont servi à identifier les vétérinaires et les techniciens vétérinaires surveillés en 2006. Nous avons combiné ces données aux chiffres du Recensement pour estimer un intervalle de prévalence et des niveaux de dose. Pour les antinéoplasiques, la prévalence de l’exposition a été estimée à l’aide des statistiques sur l’emploi par type de pratique et des taux d’utilisation des antinéoplasiques, lesquels ont été obtenus dans les revues évaluées par les pairs et auprès des organismes de réglementation de la profession vétérinaire.

Résultats

En 2006, 7 013 (37%) des agents vétérinaires canadiens ont été surveillés pour leur exposition aux rayonnements ionisants. On estime qu’entre 3,3% et 8,2% des médecins vétérinaires et entre 2,4% et 7,2% des techniciens vétérinaires ont été exposés à une dose annuelle de rayonnements ionisants supérieure à 0,1 mSv, soit entre 536 et 1 450 personnes en tout. Toutes les doses surveillées étaient en deçà des limites réglementaires. Pour les antinéoplasiques, une exposition était prévisible chez jusqu’à 5 300 agents vétérinaires (soit 23%), avec un intervalle de prévalence estimatif de 22% à 24% des médecins vétérinaires et de 20% à 21% des techniciens vétérinaires.

Conclusion

Il s’agit de la première évaluation nationale de l’exposition aux rayonnements ionisants et aux antinéoplasiques en milieu vétérinaire au Canada. Ces dangers peuvent poser des risques considérables pour la santé. Les niveaux d’exposition semblent être faibles, mais nos estimations devraient être validées par une surveillance complète de l’exposition et par un examen des déterminants selon la sphère de pratique, la profession et la tâche.

Mots clés

vétérinaire exposition professionnelle rayonnement antinéoplasiques Canada 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy L. Hall
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hugh W. Davies
    • 1
  • Paul A. Demers
    • 2
  • Anne-Marie Nicol
    • 3
  • Cheryl E. Peters
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Care OntarioTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of Health SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityVancouverCanada

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