HCWH's co-founder Gary Cohen is a recipient of the prestigious Skoll Award. This video, chronicling the evolution of HCWH's work, premiered at the 2009 Skoll World Forum. enlarge video
PVC and Phthalates: Global Overview
For More, Select a Region
PVC (vinyl plastic) is used throughout health care in a wide variety of applications, from IV bags and disposable gloves, to curtains and flooring. Today it is the most commonly used plastic in medical devices.
However, the use of PVC creates a number of environmental and health risks — including dioxin pollution and patient exposure to hazardous chemicals such as the phthalate DEHP, which leaches from vinyl medical devices.
Several government agencies, including the U.S. FDA, the Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate, the Japanese Ministry of Health and a Health Canada expert panel have warned that certain patients — particularly sick infants — are at risk of harm from phthalate-containing vinyl medical devices.
Due to these concerns, many health care facilities around the world are switching to safer, cost-effective medical devices that do not contain vinyl plastic or phthalates.
For detailed information on this topic, in addition to tools and resources, select your region of the world from the links at the top of this page.
- Alternatives to PVC and DEHP
- DEHP Exposures During the Medical Care of Infants (pdf)
- Dioxin, PVC and Health Care (pdf)
- Health Care Institutions Moving Away from PVC/DEHP (pdf)
List compiled by Health Care Without Harm
- Neonatal Exposure to DEHP and Opportunities for Prevention (pdf)
- Pediatric Hospitals: Take the NICU No Harm survey! Find out more about PVC-Free Building Materials (pdf)
- US FDA Public Health Notification on DEHP on the FDA website
- Weight of the Evidence on DEHP (pdf)
- Why Health Care is Moving Away from PVC (pdf)