Medical manufacturers are not abandoning PVC.
All the negative publicity last fall about DINP DINP Diisononyl Phthalate phthalate Phthal´ate
n. 1. (Chem.) A salt of phthalic acid. plasticizer plas·ti·ciz·er
Any of various substances added to plastics or other materials to make or keep them soft or pliable.
plasticizer or -ciser
Noun in vinyl baby toys appears to have fed another controversy - this time concerning vinyl medical products. In early April, Baxter International Corp., Deerfield, Ill., one of the world's leading makers of medical supplies, publicly announced that it will "seek alternatives to vinyl in instances where the overall performance and safety of another material is proven superior to PVC PVC: see polyvinyl chloride.
in full polyvinyl chloride
Synthetic resin, an organic polymer made by treating vinyl chloride monomers with a peroxide. and regulatory clearance is obtained." The Washington-based Greenpeace organization applauded what it took to be a decision by Baxter to phase out manufacture of vinyl IV bags because of supposed safety concerns. Subsequent clarifications by Baxter indicate that interpretation to be somewhat exaggerated.
Last November, when vinyl baby toys were in the national news, three of Baxter's institutional shareholders - two religious organizations and one labor-union pension fund - jointly represented by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) is a coalition of 275 faith-based institutional investors. Founded in 1973, the organization advocates for corporate social responsibility and files shareholder resolutions and engages in dialogue with corporate management on (ICRR ICRR Institute for Cosmic Ray Research (University of Tokyo)
ICRR Illinois Central Railroad
ICRR International Congress of Radiation Research ), proposed that the company adopt a policy to phase out PVC from its products, which include IV bags, heart catheters, and surgical tubing. At issue were questions about possible health effects from leaching of a different phthalate plasticizer, DEHP DEHP Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate
DEHP Diethyl Hydrogen Phosphite
DEHP Dual Encoding Hierarchical Pipelining , into fluids in IV bags. According to Baxter sources, the safety of vinyl and DEHP in medical products has been confirmed in hundreds of studies and is affirmed by the U.S. FDA FDA
Food and Drug Administration
n.pr See Food and Drug Administration.
n.pr the abbreviation for the Food and Drug Administration. , other national health agencies, and the World Health Organization.
A series of discussions between Baxter and ICRR yielded a "Memorandum of Understanding A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a legal document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action and may not imply a legal commitment. " that states, "Baxter is committed to exploring and developing alternatives to PVC products and to developing and implementing proposed timetables for substituting its current containers for intravenous solutions with a container that does not contain PVC." In the future, the company will update the shareholders on steps to be taken towards replacing its global line of PVC-containing products other than IV containers.
A statement on "Baxter's Position" on the company web site (www.baxter.com/pvc) says, "Baxter simply views this non-binding agreement as an opportunity to promote the materials development efforts it has already had in place for many years." It goes on to state, "In many applications, PVC remains the material of choice because of its long history of safe use and because of its outstanding performance characteristics. At the same time, we plan to remain a pioneer in materials research." A Baxter spokesman explains that any shift to non-PVC alternatives will be very gradual and could take more than a decade.
Baxter's leading worldwide competitor, Abbott Laboratories of Abbott Park, Ill., also received a proposal from some of its shareholders asking that the company phase out PVC. Abbott was then offered an opportunity to sign a similar Memorandum of Understanding, but declined. As a result, the proposal was to be presented for vote to the shareholders on April 23.
SPI's Vinyl Institute in Washington, D.C., says IV bags and medical tubing account for about 4-6 % of all PVC extrusion - around 600-900 million lb in 1998. Meanwhile, B. Braun McGaw in Bethlehem, Pa., has been manufacturing a non-PVC bag for standard IV solution for 10 years. This multilayer structure of PP, a copolyester, and a synthetic elastomer elastomer (ĭlăs`təmər), substance having to some extent the elastic properties of natural rubber. The term is sometimes used technically to distinguish synthetic rubbers and rubberlike plastics from natural rubber. contains no plasticizer. A company spokesman says this IV bag accounts for about 20% of the 500-600 million bags made yearly in the U.S.