The Southern African Vinyls Association (Sava) was officially welcomed this month as a member of the newly formed PVCMedAlliance, a Brussels-based international polyvinyl chloride (PVC) industry platform launched in October 2012 to raise awareness of and promote informed decisions about the use of PVC in the healthcare industry.
Alongside the Vinyls Council of Australia, Sava is currently one of only two associations worldwide that belong to the global network, which comprises members from the international PVC industry, ranging from resin manufacturers to plasticisers and converters.
“This is a significant milestone for vinyl in South Africa. Being part of the alliance will enable us to highlight the quality, safety and environmentally responsible uses of vinyl within the healthcare environment, as well as to promote research and development within the industry, which will ultimately create even more uses for the material,” says Sava CEO Delanie Bezuidenhout.
She adds that Sava’s membership of PVCMedAlliance will not only encourage dialogue within the industry but will also strengthen the voice of the association, as it aims to educate the community and medical fraternity about the role of vinyl in the medical industry.
“We have now been granted access to a valuable repository of information and ground-breaking research, which we can share with experts worldwide.”
She points out that 40% of all plastic-based disposable medical devices used in hospitals are made of PVC, which is used extensively in the industry owing to its hygienic properties.
“Vinyl is appropriate for a range of medical applications, including blood bags, tubing and artificial skin. It is also used for items such as flooring, cupboards, plumbing pipes, electrical wiring and bed coverings.
“Further, adding plas- ticisers to vinyl makes a product soft and flexible, which dramatically improves safety and comfort. It has also been proved to reduce the risk of life-threatening and healthcare-acquired infections,” says Bezuidenhout.
Through its partnership with PVCMedAlliance, Sava intends to work closely with the local medical community to address sustainability issues related to the use of PVC in the medical field.
“This would involve supporting the launch of a recycling scheme at hospitals for nonhazardous PVC medical waste, such as tubing and oxygen masks – items that typically end up in the hazard- ous waste stream,” she says.
The PVCMedAlliance aims to produce and promote relevant, scientifically based information on the use of vinyl in the healthcare industry and to provide a focal point for communication among regulators and the medical and healthcare communities.