Toxics in Packaging: 2009 Update

Hazardous substance regulations affect many industries and we often focus on how it affects the electronics (RoHS compliance) and childrens products (CPSIA, Proposition-65, etc) industries.  However, regulations are also in place that limit the amount of toxic materials in packaging and affect a wide range of product line – any that are packaged.

XRF testing toy package

XRF testing toy package

Testing packaging materials for lead, cadmium, etc is an application of XRF that we will add information to the Quickshot XRF website on in the near future.  Right now, however, this blog entry highlights the 2009 update from the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH).

The TPCH was created to help states implement their individual packaging laws.  Nineteen different states currently have laws with penalties that can be up to $25,000 in fines for violations.  The law establishes a maximum combined concentration of 100 parts-per-million (ppm) of lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium.


The 2009 Update (which can be reviewed in full at the TPCH website) noted that printing inks used on plastic bags were typically 20 time greater than the legal, allowable limit.  It also notes that 52% of flexible PVC packaging has lead or cadmium present.

These numbers were the result of screening over 400 packaging samples using x-ray fluorescence analysis.  It would make sense that Handheld XRF was used because they are not limited by a samples size or location.

With state fines being imposed and retailers (including Wal-Mart) requiring proof of compliance or product for them to test before being allowed on shelves, the need for accurate testing is growing.  At Quickshot XRF, and our sister companies, we have received more and more calls about testing for hazardous substances in packaging.  It is clearly a growing concern for importers and resellers of home furnishing, pet suppliers, cosmetics, children toys, etc.

Watch for additional information on the solutions that Quickshot XRF can provide for proving compliance to these regulations – or contact us today to discuss your hazardous substance testing need…

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