The red blood cells of blood stored in containers made of polyvinylchloride(PVC) film are osmotically more stable and lose on average about 1/3 less hemoglobin than when blood is stored in another plastic [poly-(ethylene-co-ethyl acrylate); EEA], The stability of uniform volumes of stored red blood cells varies directly with PVC surface area,whereas changes in EEA surface area have comparatively little or no effect. PVC contains high concentrations of the plasticizer, diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP), known to migrate into blood and to have a high potential for toxicity. To determine if DEHP could be the red cell stabilizing agent in PVC, whole blood was stored in containers made from EEA into which was incorporated varying amounts of DEHP. Incorporation of DEHP into EEA significantly reduced erythrocyte osmotic fragility (p = 0.01). The degree of reduced fragility correlated with the level of DEHP in the cell phase implicating DEHP in PVC containers as the stabilizing agent for red cells.

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