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A report on human exposure to plasticizers in medical devices

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly-Identified Health Risks released a report on the safety of medical devices containing DEHP-plasticized PVC or other plasticizers on neonates and other risk groups.

Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a plasticizer used to make PVC soft and flexible. DEHP is the world’s most widely used PVC plasticizer and is used in virtually every category of flexible PVC. and blood bags, to footwear, electrical cables, packaging and flooring.

Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a manufactured chemical that is commonly added to plastics to make them flexible. DEHP is a colorless liquid with almost no odor. DEHP is present in plastic products such as wall coverings, tablecloths, floor tiles, furniture upholstery, shower curtains, garden hoses, swimming pool liners, rainwear, baby pants, dolls, some toys, shoes, automobile upholstery and tops, packaging film and sheets, sheathing for wire and cable, medical tubing, and blood storage bags.

Increased exposures may come from intravenous fluids delivered through plastic tubing, and from ingesting contaminated foods or water.  In animals, high levels of DEHP damaged the liver and kidney and affected the ability to reproduce.

A composite analysis of the currently available information indicates that DEHP has been shown to be carcinogenic to rodents in a valid chronic test, indicating that it should be considered as a potential carcinogen in humans, as well.

Cancer Classification: NTP: Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. EPA: Probable human carcinogen. IARC: Possibly carcinogenic to humans.