Students of high medical school in the town of Chomutov will discuss on Monday 10 March the risks of medical devices containing polyvinylchloride (PVC). Head of the campaign „Don´t Play with PVC“ Ing. Miroslava Jopková will give them lecture about possibilities of reducing negative impacts of this chemical on patients´ health. PVC is famous for its possibility to contain hazardous substances such as e-g. phthalates. Unfortunately, even medical devices which contain as much as 40% of reprotoxic phthalate DEHP, are not exceptional,“ Jopková added.
Risk of medical devices made of PVC is in fact that toxic chemicals leak from them during their usage. Most frequently this is di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) which threatens reproductive ability, causes congenital malformations, cardiovascular problems and infertility. It can also harm the kidneys and liver in which it accumulates. „Use of this phthalate is reduced in food packaging, cosmetics, toys and other products for children, but it can be still used as a softener in medical devices,“ said Jopková.
„Danger related to the medical devices made of PVC has not been so far well known in the Czech Republic. We decided to include such a lesson in the lecture so that students can get more information and be aware of some less known risk of their future profession,“ said Mgr. Hana Karasová, coordinator of environmental education.
Jopková also said that the students will also learn practical things during the lecture. „For example, how to recognize PVC, which products are made of it, and about a course of substitution of risky medical devices made of PVC in hospitals (1). „The lecture is not the only activity concerning this issue which is going to take place in the medical school. „The students can get information on PVC also from our leaflets and informative panels that have been temporarily located in school premises,“ Karasová added.
Hospital in town Louny (2) is the first one in region Ústí which started to substitute PVC in its medical devices.
This activity of association ARNIKA is supported by grant provided by Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway any by the EEC Financial Mechanism and Norwegian Financial Mechanism by NROS (Foundation for Development of Civil Society).
(1) Hospital in Louny („Nemocnice sv. Alžběty“) cooperates with ARNIKA in substitution of medical devices made of PVC in the region of Ústí nad Labem. Over 90% of devices containing the phthalates was replaced in the Neonatological Unit in another region – in hospital České Budějovice. Reduction of PVC with the content of phthalates also continues in Havlíčkův Brod. Arnika takes part in medical conferences and seminars to keep medical workers informed about the issue of PVC.
(2) See Arnika´s press release from 2 August 2007 - http://english.arnika.org/pressreleases.shtml?x=2064894