For the last couple of days the news has been flooded with the results of a German study regarding the use of the phthalate known as DEHP in IV feeding tubes for preemies. The study showed that 50% of the infants fed with these tubes develop liver problems, compared to 13% for those fed with DEHP-free tubes.
DEHP is one of the three phthalates the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently banned in crib mattresses, bedding, toys and other children’s items. Research showed that phthalates can leach out of these products over time and possibly cause various types of cancers, liver problems and so on.
When you consider that babies spend 12 to 14 hours a day sleeping right next to these chemicals, it’s no surprise they were banned from crib mattresses. What is surprising is that it took this long to get substantial research done on the possible effects DEHP would have when it’s being leeched out of a feeding tube directly into the veins.
It’s also surprising that many preemies survive this onslaught. A testament to the human spirit, with perhaps a little help from above.
There are hospitals all over the U.S. that don’t use IV feeding tubes with phthalates. If you have a preemie, or know you’re going to deliver early, it would be a good idea to do a little research on these hospitals to see if there is one in your area so you can get it lined up in advance. If that can’t be done, you might request that the hospital you are going to use find a solution other than IV feeding tubes with phthalates so your baby has as healthy a start as possible.
And when you get your little miracle home, continue to be diligent. Get an organic crib mattress, and make sure toys, other items, and the general environment are safe and healthy.