European PVC producers will actively participate in several professional medical events starting with the annual meeting for the Society of Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Recovery Nurses March 6 in Denmark.
"PVCMed Alliance has been formed and launched recently. It aims to open dialogue with its stakeholders, e.g. through an interactive web site (including blogs and social media) as well as participating in various trade fairs," Brigitte Dero, general manager of The European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (Brussels, Belgium) told Plastics Today.
The newly proactive posture of the European vinyl industry to protect the polymer's reputation and status in the medical market seems to contrast with what's happening in the United States where the vinyl industry has had virtually no profile at major medical manufacturing and design conferences.
AT MD&M West held earlier this month in Anaheim, CA, there was no discernible presence of PVC, even though it represents 30% of plastics products in the medical market, far more than any other plastic. Suppliers will discuss PVC, but primarily promote elastomers or polyesters or other products that have a more positive image.
PVC, and especially phthalate plasticizers, have been under attack in the United States and Europe because of concerns that infants in particular could be affected by chemicals that may leach from tubing or bags. Two California-based healthcare organizations, Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health have been the first to take action to eliminate PVC. But other prestigious hospital groups, such as the Cleveland Clinic and Partners Healthcare in Boston, have also initiated actions that could affect PVC.
Allen Blakey, vice president of industry and government affairs of the Vinyl Institute (Alexandra, VA), has strongly defended PVC as not only a safe material, but also a preferred material, for healthcare applications.
"VI supports the kinds of educational activities the PVC Med Alliance is undertaking, and we are currently evaluating how we can join or work with them," Blakey told Plastics Today. "PVC medical products have unsurpassed performance characteristics, as know you know--kink-resistance, resistance to necking down, solvent-welded joints, etc."
The Vinyl Institute did participate last year in an American Public Health Association conference and hosted a blood drive to showcase the importance of vinyl medical products.
Current members of the PVCMed Alliance include BASF, Colorite Europe, Eastman, ECVM, OXEA, Renolit, and Tarkett.