International collaboration for PVC-free blood bags
Karolinska University Hospital aims to be one of the first hospitals in the world to use PVC-free blood bags in the foreseeable future, which will contribute to safer healthcare and a better environment. Our objective 2018 is, together with two European companies, establish contact with a partner who has the power to launch PVC-free blood bags on the market.
Since 2011, Karolinska University Hospital have participated in the Life + demonstration project PVCfreeBloodBag, supported by the majority of health care organizations in Sweden. The EU-funded project has been run by public healthcare together with four European plastic companies - Melitek A/S in Denmark, Wipak Oy in Finland, Primo Profile in Poland and Haemotronic in Italy to produce blood bags consisting of plastics other than PVC. Karolinska University Hospital have had a major role in the project as responsible for evaluating the PVC-free blood bag. The Life + project has now been completed, but the work continues with Karolinska University Hospital in charge with funding from SLL Innovation Fund.
There are currently no blood bags available on the market that does not contain PVC or phthalates, even though we know that PVC containing softening phthalates affects our environment and our health adversely. PVC can cause environmental problems in both the manufacturing and waste stages, which include emissions of heavy metal stabilizers and phthalates and release of dioxins and greenhouse gases during combustion. A blood bag made of PVC usually contains up to 40 percent of the plasticizer DEHP (Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate) which is classified as toxic to reproductionand has recently also been classified as an endocrine disrupting chemical, edc.
The LIFE + demonstration project PVCfreeBloodBag has, with a whole new supply chain, shown that it is possible to produce a completely pvc-free set of four bags, which can store red blood cells and fulfil the requirement specifications.
The project has increased demand by spreading knowledge and awareness together with European healthcare, and together with HCWH Europe (Health Care Without Harm), among others, pushed for stronger legislation on medical devices.An increased demand is of outmost importance for the project and that is why we wish healthcare organizations to join us by signing a Letter of Intent.