02 April 2007 | Antony Barton
Hospitals should be able to purchase safer medical devices after new EU regulations forcing medical device manufacturers to label chemical ingredients in products was passed last week.
Until now, purchasing decisions for medical devices have typically been made on the basis of cost and performance because manufacturers could keep the chemical contents secret.
Karolina Ruzickova, safer materials co-ordinator for pressure group Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe, said: "By forcing manufacturers to label medical devices made from chemicals suspected of causing reproductive disorders to the patients, the EU is making it much easier for purchasing managers to assess the safety of various alternatives and choose the one most suitable for the intended purpose."
HCWH says it is particularly concerned by certain phthalates that can leach out of medical devices into liquids transferred to patients' bodies.
HCWH is an international coalition of over 440 organisations in more than 50 countries. It aims to transform the health care industry so it poses less harm to people and the environment.