What you should know about DINP, DEHP, and DOP!

DINP (Diisononyl phthalate), and DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) sometimes known as DOP (di-octyl phthalate) are commonly used plasticizer from the phthalate ester family and have been in use in flexible PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) products since the 1930’s. Flexible PVC products for building, automotive, medical and packaging applications usually contain phthalates.

As phthalates have been used for such a long time, they continue to be closely studied to ensure that their use is safe. It has been known for many years that small amounts of plasticizers can leach out of the products under certain circumstances. One such circumstance is medical tubing, blood and other intravenous (IV) fluid bags where phthalate plasticizer that may have migrated into the fluid during storage can enter the patient.

In June 1999, a panel of 17 American scientists reviewed the safety of phthalate plasticizers in medical products and toys for young children; found that they did not pose a significant health risk.

In 2000, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reclassified DEHP, the most commonly used plasticizer in flexible PVC products as non-carcinogenic to humans. Previous to that, in 1982 they had classified these plasticizers as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. In 1990 the European Commission established its own position that DEHP shall not be labeled or classified as a carcinogen based on studies which showed differences in how species respond to DEHP.

In reaching its 2000 decision to downgrade the classification of DEHP to “not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans” they reviewed more recent scientific studies that took into account the evidence that the mechanism by which DEHP induces liver tumors in rats and mice is not relevant to humans.

In 2003 the CDC released a report on phthalates that confirmed that median exposures to phthalates were well below levels that could be expected to cause health effects, based on exposure level study using blood and urine tests.

In December 2014, the State of California added the phthalate DINP to their list of potentially dangerous phthalates on Proposition 65. At this time, more testing is being done, however, DINP remains part of the list of dangerous phthalates until further notice.

There is no evidence that anyone has been harmed by exposure to phthalate plasticizers. Nevertheless, scientific uncertainty about the potential for phthalates to disrupt the human endocrine system or reproductive development has led to significant ongoing debate about their safety.


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