DEHP/PVC Reduction

PVC is a plastic whose production and disposal produces hazardous chemicals, and DEHP is a phthalate plasticizer with potential toxicity – both are used in medical products. We seek to reduce the purchase of medical products containing PVC and DEHP when possible, and aim to participate in moving the marketplace toward innovation in safer alternatives.

The Quentin & Elisabeth Alexander Level IIIc NICU at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital uses medical products that are free of the phthalate chemical DEHP, as exposure to this chemical carries potential toxicity, particularly for the smallest neonates.

DEHP/PVC Reduction

Quentin & Elisabeth Alexander Level IIIc NICU, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital

We worked with our suppliers to develop tracking mechanisms for the purchase of medical products containing PVC and DEHP, and to identify alternative opportunities for the following product lines, in line with the Healthier Hospitals Initiative Safer Chemicals Challenge:

  • Breast pumps
  • Enteral nutrition products
  • Parenteral infusion devices and sets
  • General urological (irrigation/urology sets and solutions, urinary catheters)
  • Exam gloves
  • Umbilical vessel catheters
  • Vascular catheters

Ninety-five percent of vendors supplying the system with products meeting the requirements of this outcome area are reflected in the data we have reported to the Healthier Hospitals Initiative in 2013. Moving forward to 2014 and beyond, we require from our vendors quarterly reports outlining the DEHP/PVC content in the products they provide, and have requested presentations of DEHP/PVC-free alternatives when available.

At present, the product lines from which PVC and DEHP have been eliminated are as follows:
Enteral nutrition products UH Case Medical Center, UH Geauga Medical Center
Umbilical vessel catheters Systemwide
Vascular catheters UH Conneaut, UH Geneva and UH Richmond medical centers

Proportion of Dollars Spent on Applicable Medical Products

15 Environmental Excellence awards

UH received 15 Environmental Excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth, including the prestigious System for Change award, for our systemwide achievements in sustainability in 2013.