IV BAGS: Koop’s Panel Gives Green Light to Softener
A study released this week dismissed concerns that a vinyl softener used in IV bags could leach into fluids and cause harm to organs, the Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. A 17-member panel headed by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said that after reviewing "previously published and continuing studies" of softeners DEHP and DINP, the group concluded that both are "safe for humans." Further, Koop said, removing the substances, known as phthalates, "would actually pose a significant health risk to individuals who depend on those devices." The panel's findings do, however, "contrast sharply" with those released last week by Health Care Without Harm, a coalition of health, environment and consumer groups, which convinced the FDA to conduct a study of DEHP and prompted Baxter International, a high-volume manufacturer of the bags, to study other softening options. The group reviewed more than 100 studies and found that "the substance could harm multiple organ system in animals and endanger humans when it leaches into fluids" (Richwine, 6/23). "It's difficult to understand how the panel could have reviewed the hundreds of studies on leaching and health effects and still come out with such simple, soothing words of assurance," said coalition member Charlotte Brody (Reuters/Los Angeles Times, 6/23). But Koop appeared convinced, noting that "he lets his own grandchildren" play with toys containing phthalates (Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.