Phthalates are found in many products besides medical supplies. It is also found in toys, vinyl flooring and cosmetics.
Rigorous research on the effects in humans is lacking, but animal studies suggest the chemical may cause health risks including liver abnormalities and reproductive system damage.
Researchers reporting in the journal Pediatrics say their research shows it may raise the chances of liver damage in babies born prematurely. The researchers said hospitals treating premature babies should turn to IV feeding equipment that doesn't contain the chemical.