Controversy: Neonatal exposure to plasticizers in the NICU

Victoria M. Pak, Regina E. Nailon, Linda A. McCauley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This article presents a review of extant literature that informs our current understanding of the effects of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) exposure on neonates. Phthalates such as DEHP add flexibility to plastics. DEHP is a major component in the manufacturing of polyvinyl chloride devices commonly used in the healthcare setting.Premature and critically ill neonates and infants in the NICU are exposed to DEHP and may be at an increased risk for adverse health outcomes as a result. DEHP has been shown to be a developmental and endocrine disrupting toxicant and is a major component in polyvinyl chloride plastics, which are commonly found in medical equipment used in the NICU. Potential toxicities to infants in the NICU are a concern because infants' small body size and compromised physical condition necessitate a multitude of medical interventions, each increasing exposure levels. Expanding nurses' knowledge regarding DEHP research is important for implementing a precautionary approach to reduce DEHP exposure among NICU patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-249
Number of pages6
JournalMCN The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Alternative medical devices
  • Neonates
  • Phthalates
  • Plasticizer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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