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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Health Update

Air Date: Week of July 21, 2000

Living On Earth’s Anna Solomon-Greenbaum reports that a panel of experts say chemicals in medical equipment may harm the infant males reproductive organs.

Transcript

SOLOMON-GREENBAUM: The blood bags and IV tubes used to treat sick infants may be doing them long-term harm. A panel of experts appointed by the federal government has been reviewing the toxicity of DEHP, a chemical used to soften plastics in medical equipment. And they say it may pose a significant risk to the reproductive systems of male infants. Laboratory studies in animals have shown that the chemical can induce organ deformities and reduced fertility. DEHP doesn't bond to plastic, and can leach from medical devices during procedures like blood transfusions and respiratory therapy. Premature and ill newborns are at higher risk because they often require multiple treatments using devices softened with DEHP. There are alternatives to products containing DEHP, but they are not yet widely available in the United States. That's this week's health update. I'm Anna Solomon-Greenbaum.

 

 

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