Being vegan when it comes to food isn’t usually difficult, but when it comes to medication, supplements, and medical supplies, things can get challenging.
Becoming an ostomate means that we’re forced to use ostomy supplies, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have options when it comes to deciding which one of those supplies we get to use.
One case in point: Stoma Powder
UPDATED NOV 5, 2013 WITH NEW INFO FROM HOLLISTER
This doesn’t seem like something that would be an issue, but those of us who are mindful of the use of animal ingredients which go into our products, it’s something we should explore.
And as I did my research, I came to find that more than just vegans are concerned about the use of animal ingredients in their ostomy products.
One study explored the use of animal products in various major world religions and found that many groups exclude products made from pigs or cows (SOURCE). Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs all prohibit the use of pork products; gelatine derived from pork is a very common ingredient used in ostomy supplies, so this poses an obvious conflict for many people.
Since most manufacturers don’t list their ingredients on the package, it’s good to check out the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for those products. Please note that some product MSDS’ may not list ALL ingredients, but only the important stuff; In this and some other cases, you’ll need to call or email your supplier to find out.
Hollister Adapt stoma powder (Hollister #7906)
Hollister doesn’t have an MSDS for this product. When I wrote to them, I received a letter which states: “An MSDS is not required for the above product, according to the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (Right-to-Know)”. Fair enough, but I was still able to ask about their ingredients and it was confirmed that there are no animal products in their stoma powder.
UPDATE NOV 5, 2013: Hollister emailed me back with the following letter:
Please disregard the previous TSE Free Statement as there was an error in the ingredient list in the Bill of Materials (BOM) for the Adapt Stoma Powder, Product Number 7906.
The Adapt Stoma Powder does contain one animal derived material—gelatin derived from pork skin. The vendor has stated that the porkswine gelatin was produced in the USA solely from
pigs and no other material of animal origin, other than the skins of swine, were used in the gelatin manufacturing process. The pigskins are from hogs slaughtered in the U.S. or Canadian
hog processing establishments that are USDA or CFIA licensed and inspected. The pigs received ante- and post-mortem health inspections by a USDA or CFIA veterninary service inspector and are approved for human consumption.
Yeah, so… I’m upset to hear about this, because I’ve been using the Adapt powder, but at least I know now and won’t continue to use this product.
No ingredient list is offered, but Hollister confirmed to me in writing that their 7906 Stoma Powder does not contain animal ingredients.
Contains gelatin derived from pigskin. This product is not vegan.
ConvaTec’s Stomahesive powder (ConvaTec #25510)
The MSDS for this product can be found HERE.
Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose
Oh oh, gelatin. Derived from animal bones, skin, or cartridge means this product is not vegan.
Coloplast Brava Powder (Coloplast #19075)
The MSDS for this product can be found HERE
Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose
All vegan ingredients.
There are other brands out there, but these three are probably the most common and can be purchased just about everywhere.
I should point out that while the ingredients in these products are relatively benign, there is the possibility that animal testing was done on any or all of these products.
The FDA explains WHY this is required for many products, although many vegans would disagree that animal testing is required at all, especially for a product like this; human volunteers would offer better feedback, could be appropriately compensated, and more importantly, give their consent.