2009 Toxics in Packaging Update

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) recently released an update on the hazardous metals found in packaging.  The organization used x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers in testing various packaging and is drawing excellent awareness to this industries need for hazardous substance screening.  Below is a summary of a few points but additional information can be found at this Skyray XRF application page or at the TPCH website (www.toxicsinpackaging.org)

Two highlighted findings from the report (An Assessment of Heavy Metals in Packaging 2009 Update) include that lead content detected in printing inks and colorants used on plastic bags were typically 20 times greater than the legal limit.  Also, lead or cadmium were found in 52% of flexible PVC packaging; which is a material is most commonly used to package home furnishings, pet supplies, cosmetics and lower cost toys.

The report noted that state officials are working to educate the industry about the laws and testing methods.  Penalties for non-compliance vary but an example of applicable fines from New York is up to $10,000 for the first violation and up to $25,000 for each violation thereafter.  Retailers are also taking action, Wal-Mart for example requires suppliers to provide a certificate of compliance with state toxics in packaing laws or submit samples for testing before shipping into any of their stores.

It is good to see that the TPCH is working hard to keep the packaging industry educated on this topic.  If you are involved in the packaging industry or have any questions, please contact Skyray XRF about how Handheld XRF analyzers can help in screening your packaging for hazardous materials.

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