Since 2001, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has been conducting national bio-monitoring studies to measure the levels of toxic chemicals (including DEHP) found in a cross-section of the American population. In July 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Notification on DEHP warning health care providers to reduce DEHP exposure for certain vulnerable populations.
DEHP Di (2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate, is the most commonly used chemical in a group of related chemicals called phthalates or phthalic acid esters. Phthalate ester is widely used as a plasticizer to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products soft and flexible. PVC is used in a broad range of medical devices such as intravenous fluid containers, blood bags, IV and dialysis tubing, and tubing used in cardiopulmonary bypass procedures. If present in the fluid path, DEHP may leach out of plastic medical devices into certain solutions that come in contact with the plastic. As a perspective, currently more than 500 million IV bags are used in the United States every year to deliver blood, medication and other essential fluids to sick and injured patients. Of those, more than eighty percent (80%) are made of polyvinyl chloride.
As a result of the FDA warnings, and in response to subsequent Federal Regulations issued in conjunction with the Clean Water Act of 1972, manufacturers of PVC based tubing and other medical related products are currently transitioning to new formulations.
This information is avaialble on the FDA website.