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Top Hospital Suppliers Annnounce Safer Non-PVC Medical Devices At CleanMed

Architectural firm phases out PVC and introduces new bio-based materials

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Seattle, Washington; April 19 – Today at CleanMed 2006, Hospira, a top manufacturer of hospital products, became the first leading supplier to launch a full-service PVC-free, phthalate-free IV container, signaling an important shift in the medical device market toward safer alternatives.

Hospira’s new IV container is PVC/DEHP free and weighs 40-60% less than other flexible IV containers, resulting in significant waste reduction. PVC medical devices are a health concern because they contribute to dioxin formation during manufacture and incineration; and during use, the devices can leach the phthalate DEHP, a reproductive toxicant linked to birth defects in laboratory animals. The FDA warned health care providers in 2002 that some patients may be at risk from DEHP leaching from PVC medical devices and recommended switching to alternatives.

Baxter International announced a limited launch of a new specialty PVC-free IV system at CleanMed. Baxter and Hospira are the top two manufacturers of medical devices in the US. Also at CleanMed, Arden Architectural Specialties announced it is phasing out PVC production and introducing a new line of corn-based , bio-polymer blend wall production products, including corner guards, crash rails and handrails.

“These developments indicate a significant market shift away from PVC plastic,” said Gary Cohen, co-executive director of Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition working to reduce the environmental impact of the health care industry. “Health Care Without Harm has been partnering with major health care systems and their buyers to create demand for safer alternatives. We're pleased that these manufacturers have recognized the critical importance of providing PVC-free products that will better protect patient health and the health of our communities. We hope these companies and others will continue to bring safer, non-PVC products to market.”

Also today, Health Care Without Harm also announced a list of more than 100 health care organizations that have undertaken efforts to reduce PVC and/or DEHP, including six of the largest Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and some of the leading health care systems and largest hospitals in the country.

The announcements were made at CleanMed 2006 in Seattle, where more than 500 health Also care leaders are gathered this week for the world’s largest health care conference on environmentally preferable medical products and green buildings. For more information see http://www.noharm.org.

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