DEHP in blood bags
Blood and other bags for intravenous solutions are crucial to modern healthcare. Soft PVC is the clear material of choice for these and is used in hospitals for millions of these devices every day. No other material except PVC retains its qualities across such a diverse range of conditions without loss of flexibility or strength. These extremes range from high temperatures, which are essential for sterilisation, to weeks of low temperatures that are critical for cold storage.
Blood itself is a key but scarce resource in most hospitals. Di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) – the main phthalate used in medical devices – has a further and unique role in blood bags because it actually helps to prolong the life of the blood itself. Without these products, blood supplies would be substantially reduced.
Rapid and effective emergency treatment of accident victims depends on blood bags. They are light but almost impossible to tear, easy to handle and occupy less space than traditional alternatives.
As it is chemically inert and does not react in any way, manufacturers use soft PVC for containers designed to be worn on the body, such as urine and colostomy bags. These provide the further benefits to people of comfort, being noiseless and preventing odours from escaping.
From a practical point of view, PVC bags are more convenient than glass. Not only are they easier to handle and store, but they are also safer. They cannot break and cause injuries, of particular importance in emergencies outside the hospital, for example in road accidents.
An important advantage is that soft PVC intravenous bags can be pressed together by hand for a forced infusion.
Herbal vape solutions are more medically safe than DEPH.