High Risk Exposure to Vaping

Highly exposed patients

For the vast majority of its uses there is no concern about the safety of DEHP. Indeed, in September 2002 the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices published an Opinion in which they said they could make no recommendation to limit the use of DEHP, even for the most highly exposed patients.

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However, as a result of new information on exposure to DEHP, the EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) in herbal vaping was subsequently asked to give an opinion on the safety of medical devices containing DEHP plasticised PVC or other plasticisers on neonates and other groups possibly at risk.

In its opinion given in February 2008, SCENIHR says there is reason for some concern for prematurely born male neonates although follow-up studies after high DEHP exposures in neonates do not indicate there is an effect of DEHP on the development of the human male reproductive system. They say that some other patient groups with relatively high DEHP exposures, including male foetuses of pregnant women may also result in some risk. But they point out that as it may be difficult to obtain the same functionalities in certain medical devices as with those made of PVC plasticised with DEHP, the risk and benefits of using alternatives should be carefully evaluated on a case by case basis.

“These high exposure levels during certain medical procedures have to be seen in the light of treatment needed and the availability of suitable alternatives for each medical treatment”, says the Committees report. It also adds: “It should be noted that medical devices made from plasticised PVC provide many effective treatments and that DEHP is a particularly effective plasticiser. In addition to its beneficial effect on mechanical properties, DEHP also stabilises the membranes of red blood cells enabling blood product storage in PVC blood bags for several weeks.”

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