Migration of plasticizers from poly(vinyl chloride) and multilayer infusion bags using selective extraction and GC–MS

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Flexible poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry for the manufacture of medical devices (tubes, probes, bags, primary packaging, etc.). The objective of the present study was to develop a procedure to evaluate the migration potential of nine plastic additives in aqueous infusion bags (NaCl 0.9% and glucose 5%): five phthalates, one adipate, two alkylphenols, and benzophenone. Two types of materials were analyzed: (i) new and outdated plasticized PVC (containing 40% of diethylhexyl phthalate DEHP); and (ii) tri-laminate polyethylene-polyamide-polypropylene, a multilayer material presumably exempt from DEHP. In addition, we evaluated the migration of plasticizers from PVC raw materials (film and grain) under controlled conditions to compare the migration levels according to Regulation 2011/10. Solid phase extraction and liquid-liquid extraction with gas-chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry were used in all tests. The migration of DEHP in PVC grain exceeded the maximum regulated level of 5000 μg/kg, whereas the levels were much lower in films. In new PVC bags, DEHP was the only compound detected at 4.31 ± 0.5 μg/L in NaCl 0.9% and 4.29 ± 0.25 μg/L in glucose 5% serums, whereas the levels increased 10 times in three-year shelf-life bags. In multilayer bags, DEHP was not found but instead, two plasticizers were detected namely dibuthylphthalate (DBP) and diethylphthalate (DEP) at 0.7 ± 0.1 μg/L and 4.14 ± 0.6 μg/L, respectively. These plasticizers are not mentioned as additives allowed in materials intended for parenteral use (European Pharmacopoeia 8.0, 3.1.5. and 3.1.6.). Caprolactam was tentatively identified and could have stemmed from the polyamide of the multilayer composite. The levels of phthalates remained low but not negligible and might constitute a risk to public health in the case of reiterative infusions.

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