Why PVC was replaced by TPU in medical industry?
In past years, PVC is the main material for medical equipment, especially for catheter, infusion bag, infusion tube, etc. PVC will not adsorb medicine when it flow through PVC tube, which is an important performance that most plastic material could not be. Otherwise, if the infusion tube absorb some medicine, it will disturb doctors so that they couldn’t give correct dosage. Thus PVC used to be said the most suitable material for medical equipment.
However, in recent 10 years, experts encourage to use TPU rather than PVC as the main material for medical equipment continuously. It refers to other features of PVC.
To match the requirement about extension and softness of medical equipment, PVC should be added plasticizer. But most plasticizer contains Phthalate, which is one kind of chemical that does harm to human health. Phthalate will precipitate from PVC tube, and enter into human body through medicine. So there is a threat to patients when hospital use PVC infusion tube with plasticizer.
Secondly, the used PVC medical equipment should be incinerated. When PVC is burning, Hydrogen Chloride (HCI), a kind of highly corrosive chemical, will be released. Then the incinerator will scrap ahead of schedule. More importantly, the burning PVC will release polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) to destroy environment.
TPU is an eco-friendly material. Compared with PVC, TPU doesn’t need to add plasticizer as it’s an elastomer plastic. Besides, the used TPU medical equipment can be buried instead of incinerating. Because TPU can be hydrolyzed without releasing any toxic chemicals.
Therefore, depending on the developing techniques, TPU is replacing PVC in medical industry generally. But PVC is not be replaced entirely now since the immature technology.