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The plastic softeners used in medical devices are not harmful, according to a panel of physicians and scientists chaired by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD.
The August 1999 issue of Healthcare Benchmarks reported that Health Care without Harm, an organization whose members include the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, and The Sierra Club, had called upon the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to warn patients and health care providers about potential health risks from DEHP, a common plasticizer/ softener. This warning came on the heels of a June 1999 report from the University of Massachusetts’ Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, stating that the toxic chemical leaches from toys and medical devices such as IV bags, potentially causing damage to internal organs and interfering with sperm production.
Not the case, according to Koop and his cohorts, members of a panel convened by the American Council on Science and Health to review the scientific literature concerning the phthalates DEHP and DINP. "Consumers can be confident that vinyl toys and medical devices are safe," said Koop. "The panel’s findings confirm what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have been saying about these products all along. There is no scientific evidence that they are harmful to children or adults."
The full report, "A Scientific Evaluation of Health Effects of Two Plasticizers Used in Medical Devices and Toys," and a complete list of panel members are available on the Internet at http:// www.Medscape.com. The executive summary is available on www.drkoop.com/healthnews/ special-reports/acsh/june/phthalate.html. The full report was published in Medscape General Medicine, a primary source, peer reviewed, on-line medical journal.
The American Council on Science and Health, founded in 1978 and directed by a board of physicians and scientists, is an independent, nonprofit consumer education consortium. The organization is dedicated to helping Americans distinguish between real and hypothetical health risks.
[For more information, contact the American Council on Science and Health, 1995 Broadway, Second Floor, New York, NY 10023-5860. Telephone: (212) 362-7044. Fax: (212) 362-4919. Web site: http://www.asch.org.]