This fiscal year, Ambu reached its target of eliminating harmful phthalates from all products. Phthalates are most commonly used as plasticizers, which are added to plastics to act as a softener and increase the flexibility, transparency and durability of the material. Due to their chemical components, some phthalates can be harmful. As of 30th September 2020, Ambu has ceased to manufacture products that contain harmful phthalates.
“This is a target which has been in progress for almost 10 years, and so reaching it now is a great milestone for us,” says Annette Bitz, Head of Biosafety at Ambu.
A complex process
The target was born from a customer need, and in order for Ambu to meet that need, the company was required to investigate which plasticizer could be used as a suitable substitute, and only then the project to have 100% phthalate-free products could begin.
“From the beginning we shared with our customers that we were willing to listen to their need for phthalate-free products, but we also pointed out that this was far from an easy process. It wasn’t simply enough for us to substitute the phthalates. It was also crucial for us to find the exact right substitution. We were not willing to compromise on the functionality, durability or longevity of the final product. It was also important for us that the substitution did not impose a cost-burden on our customers,” says Annette Bitz.
The project commenced with a substitution of phthalates in the Ambu face masks and laryngeal masks because these products are used in direct contact with patients. Thereafter the products with indirect contact were addressed, and finally the products which had no direct contact with patients. Initially, the phthalate target was set to only cover medical devices, however, this was shortly after extended to include the full product portfolio, including training equipment such as the Ambu manikins.
A collaborative effort
“We had to ask all of our suppliers to remove phthalates from their products and then we had to test these products. It has been an immense collaborative effort amongst all the parties involves, and it is wonderful to see that the effort has paid off,” says Annette Bitz.
This past fiscal year, Ambu worked on substituting phthalates from circuits and VivaSight products, and as this was successful, Ambu has now reached the target of phthalate-free products in the entire product portfolio.