Why Nurses Care About DEHP in Catheters, and You Should Too
Have you noticed a growing awareness to be conscious about eating organically, and avoiding unhealthy chemicals whenever possible? You’re not alone! According to Statista, U.S. shoppers purchase an astounding $43 billion in organic foods each year, and 44 percent of Americans incorporate at least some organic foods into their diets.
Health professionals know, though, that it’s not just what you eat that can affect your health. Chemical exposure matters too.
Unfortunately, not as much awareness exists about chemicals found in medical supplies like many brands of intermittent catheters or other disability products that you may use on a daily basis. That’s why Wheel:Life is so happy to share this information below to help you learn.
WHAT NURSES WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT CHEMICALS IN MEDICAL PRODUCTS
The American Nurses Association has made strong statements about their concerns with chemicals that are known to cause cancer or known to cause reproductive harm in men, especially in relation to a chemical called DEHP.
DEHP (Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate) is a chemical commonly used in traditional catheter manufacturing. The chemical is a plastic softener that is often used in the manufacturing process to make PVC more flexible.
Registered nurse Susan Trossman’s article in American Nurse Today says, “the American Nurses Association (ANA) and state-based constituent member association (CMA) leaders want nurses to consider this: Many chemicals in products—such as di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) used to soften plastic … are not innocuous. These and other chemicals can affect the health of nurses and patients by direct contact or indirect environmental exposure.”
For the last 11 years, the American Nurses Association has encouraged hospitals and healthcare professionals to switch to medical devices that are not made with DEHP, according to a public statement on the ANA website.
“The American Nurses Association (ANA) joins with Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), a coalition for environmentally responsible health care, in urging hospitals, manufacturers, and healthcare professionals to switch to DEHP-free medical devices in order to protect sick infants and other at-risk patients,” the ANA website explains.
For the last 15 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned health care providers to use alternatives to DEHP-containing devices too. And since 1987, the state of California has listed DEHP on their Proposition 65 registry as a known carcinogen and a chemical known to cause reproductive harm in men.
The health risk from DEHP is severe enough that the federal government has also removed and banned it from being used in children’s toys due to the chemical’s ability to be absorbed through the mouth and skin.
So why is DEHP still found in many intermittent catheters on the market today?
Unfortunately, this is currently still legal. However, if you can avoid these chemicals all together in the products that you use, there are compelling health reasons to do so.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE IF YOUR CATHETER IS MADE WITH DEHP
For example, reducing exposure to known carcinogens is a legitimate concern for people who have a higher risk for cancer due to hereditary or other health issues.
Did you know the incidence rate of bladder cancer in people who have spinal cord injury (SCI) is 16 to 28 times higher than that of the general population?
That’s according to a research study published by model SCI center Craig Rehabilitation Hospital.
Expert urologist Dr. Gerard Henry sees patients from all over the world at his practice, Ark-La-Tex Urology, because of his skill and reputation in treating male urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and urinary difficulties. He received his medical degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and completed a six-year Urology Residency at Duke University in Durham, N.C. including a one-year basic science research fellowship and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
“Catheter users should care about DEHP and BPA, because they are known carcinogens and known to cause reproductive harm,” Henry says.
“As a medical professional, my first rule is to Do No Harm,” he continues. “If I was discussing with my medical colleagues what they were prescribing, if they were still prescribing catheters that are made with DEHP, I would refer them to that landmark study from Craig Hospital in Denver. Anything you can do to avoid known carcinogens is a good idea.”
The good news is that a large selection of quality-made, user-friendly intermittent catheters exist today that are not made with DEHP.
NOT MADE WITH DEHP: CURE CATHETERS
Cure Medical CEO John Anderson explains that, when there are options available to create intermittent catheters that work just as well as those made with scary chemicals, there’s really no reason to use these chemicals if you can avoid it. “Cure Medical believes it’s the right thing to do, so we made the decision to go without DEHP in our medical products,” Anderson said.
Cure Medical catheters have never been made with DEHP, since the company was created more than 10 years ago.
Cure Medical also offers free samples to help educate Wheel:Life readers about their catheter options. Many people like T5 Paraplegic Kristina Rhoades are now loyal fans.
“Although I’ve used them for over 30 years, I never thought to question what was in my catheters,” Kristina says.
“I’m a big advocate for natural products, and It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that the catheters I had been using since I was a baby were made with several chemicals that have been found to be harmful – chemicals that I had already been working to eliminate from my family’s life for years.”
“Frankly, I was shocked. But, with Cure, I can rest assured that I’m using the products that I feel are best for my body,” she adds.
KRISTINA RHOADES SHARES HER STORY
If you’d like to try a Cure Catheter, request a complimentary sample here.
For More Information:
There are a variety of resources online to help you get better informed about DEHP as a material, and the health risks it poses. Similarly, there are good resources online about Proposition 65. To help you get up to speed, check out these sites:
- “Proposition 65 News” is a site that provides news and details about California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, better known by its original name, Proposition 65. Visit it at prop65news.com.
- “Bladder cancer in patients with spinal cord injury” is a large, broad research document available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14992333.