250 pediatric care products contain chemicals of concern

Many products used in pediatric care still contain chemicals of concern, according to a new analysis of chemicals in over 250 products commonly found in pediatric patient rooms.

Clean Production Action’s analysis found 45 percent of the products evaluated contained one or more chemicals of high concern to human health and the environment, even though some suppliers sold comparable products without hazardous chemicals, demonstrating the availability of safer alternatives.

While the analysis shows clear progress, it also highlights the need for more innovation in manufacturing to bring sustainable products to market and enhanced awareness of greener options when available.

The hazardous chemicals highlighted in the report include polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, plasticizers, and other carcinogens and reproductive toxicants listed by California Proposition 65. The analysis found that if hospitals eliminated PVC in pediatric rooms, that would eliminate 75 percent of the chemicals of concern in the products evaluated because PVC tends to contain numerous chemicals of concern. Intravenous, enteral feeding, and respiratory therapy products had the greatest number of products containing chemicals of concern.

Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth have prioritized these chemicals for years and have been working with leading health systems to drive demand and urge manufacturers to bring safer alternatives to market. For example, we have targeted intravenous and enteral feeding products for substitution and have worked with manufacturers to provide lists of medical products that do not contain PVC and hazardous plasticizers. More than 175 Practice Greenhealth hospitals report programs in place to eliminate these chemicals. While progress has been made, there is still room for improvement.

We have targeted chemicals of concern in medical products as well as in the other categories highlighted in the report, including furnishings, cleaning chemicals, and personal care products. According to the latest data, 100 hospitals are purchasing at least 30 percent of their furnishings without PVC and other targeted chemicals, and many of the nation’s largest and most influential health systems, like Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, Advocate, Partners, and University Hospitals, have gone well beyond that goal.

To learn more about progress at Dignity Health and Hackensack Meridian Health, join us at CleanMed May 7-9 in San Diego.

Read the report.