The safety of using DEHP, di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, has been debated, so here's some helpful information about this compound.
DEHP & FDA ConcernsFrom the FDA: DEHP, also known as di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, is a compound used as a plasticizer (softener) in many products made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, including some medical devices. Among these are:
|IV bags and tubing||Umbilical artery catheters||Peritoneal dialysis bags and tubing|
|Tubing used during Hemodialysis||Blood bags and tubing||Heart bypass machine tubing|
Nasogastric feeding tubes
||Respiratory tubing||Internal nutrition feeding bags|
The FDA believes the greatest concern would be for very young male infants who are critically ill and have prolonged exposure to multiple devices containing DEHP, and is listed as a known chemical to cause cancer and toxicity in males.
DEHP in Intermittent CathetersIn urological supplies, the most commonly used intermittent catheter is a PVC catheter. This type of catheter is slightly stiffer than latex catheters, which can ease insertion, for some patients. PVC is a plastic polymer that is used in a wide array of products. Unplasticized PVC is hard and brittle at room temperature. DEHP is a plasticizer—a softener that has been added to the flexibility of the polymer, and has been added to most medical devices. DEHP in PVC and its potential harm have been debated for some time now. It is mainly a concern for PVC products that hold and store liquids that then go into the body.
Intermittent catheters are in the body for short increments of time and do not store liquids, so the harmful exposure is minimal. The material is not conducive to indwelling use, but is thermo sensitive, and therefore becomes soft and pliable at body temperature. However, if a PVC catheter is reused it can become encrusted. Urinary bladder catheter encrustations are known complications of long-term urinary catheterization, which is commonly seen in clinical practice. These encrustations can impede deflation of the balloon and therefore cause problems in the removal of the catheter.
180 Medical carries urinary catheters without DEHP. Follow the links below for more information.
More DEHP information from FDA: http://www.fda.gov/
Cure Medical DEHP-Free Catheter Products: http://www.curemedical.com/dehp.html
About the Author:
Trish has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters.