Medical devices play a critical role in healthcare. But many medical devices contain hazardous substances in their composition that can leach out into patients dring their use, compromising patient safety. One particularly hazardous group of such substances are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These chemicals interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system and present a hazard to different physiological and developmental processes. The most common EDCs found in healthcare and medical devices are phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA). Phthalates are commonly used as softeners in PVC-based medical devices while BPA is used in a variety of plastics with many applications in the medical device industry. Health Care Without Harm Europe works to educate the healthcare sector about the harm of EDCs in medical devices, promote safer alternatives, and to lobby for changes to EU legislation that would phase out harmful substances where safer substitutes exist. Safer alternatives for almost all medical devices are available on the market and are already used by many healthcare institutions in Europe, and procurement decisions relating to medical devices often come down to knowledge, price and legal context.
For more information about EDCs, please review our publications.