Continuous battle against DEHP drives demand for alternative plasticizers for PVC in medical

Early this month, Denmark proposed four phthalates to be identified as substances of very high concern (SVHCs) for their endocrine disrupting properties for human health and the environment. Member State Committee subsequently agreed that the endocrine disrupting properties of DEHP indeed cause concern for the environment. With the series of activities that Denmark has embarked on, including its earlier decision to defy EU with planned ban on phthalates, DEHP is a substance that is being regularly challenged. This trend has further deepened and will continue on.

It is without a doubt that DEHP has been in use for many decades and has a long standing role in flexible PVC for articles used in the medical field. With the unparalleled benefits it provides, PVC is also proven to be the most suitable material for medical uses and in many cases simply irreplaceable (i.e. uses in manufacturing blood bags and medical tubes). PVC Med Alliance, an alliance of the PVC medical industry chain, has recently launched a factsheet, 10 key reasons to choose PVC in healthcare applications, which summarizes the unique advantages realized by the PVC material. This also explains why finding a suitable alternative plasticizer is extremely critical – alternative plasticizers are the solution to enable the continued utilization of PVC while staying compliant with regulations and fulfilling the changing consumer demand.

iv bag hanging on a metal poleRegulatory pressures sometimes outweigh objectively justified scientific evidences and economic benefits. Once a substance of concern is broadcasted by the media, consumers will seek for alternatives, forcing the industry to quickly adopt the change. Accordingly, in the last decade, demand for alternative plasticizers used in medical manufacturing, such as TOTM (trioctyl trimellitate) and DOTP/DEHT (dioctyl terephthalate), has shown significant growth and at a fast pace. I believe this replacement movement, especially in Europe, will be at an even faster speed in the upcoming years. And that’s why we keep looking for and introducing new alternatives.

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