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Environment, Health, And Safety Issues In the Year Ahead

(April 2009) posted on Mon Jun 01, 2009

Greenhouse-gas emissions, chemical regulations, labeling and reporting standards, and sustainability are among the issues that will have an impact on our industry in 2009. This overview discusses how these areas of concern will affect specialty printing companies.

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By Marcia Y. Kinter

To gain a clear picture of the chemi-cals in commerce, the US EPA is proposing a reset approach to the TSCA inventory. Under the clean reset approach, EPA would publish a notice in the Federal Register describing the TSCA Inventory Reset. Through this notice, the public would be invited to test an online TSCA Inventory certification system and to provide comments to the Agency on the proposed TSCA Inventory Reset. Once the system has been finalized, the final reset process would be set. It is contemplated that the TSCA Inventory reset process would reoccur periodically in the future.



The Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA) went into affect on Feb. 10, 2009. This new legislative mandate regulates lead content and the use of certain phthalates in children’s products. Under the Act, no product for children younger than 12 can contain more that 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead. This limit will drop to 300 ppm on Aug. 14, 2009. The Act also establishes that no product can contain more than 0.1% of certain phthalates. This applies to toys, as well as products for children under three that facilitate sleeping or eating.

The lead legislation affects any graphics or industrial printers who produce components of toys, puzzles, games, posters, or other products de-signed for children younger than 12. Printers who decorate garments for children also must adhere to the lead limitations, as well as the phthalate limits on products for children younger than three.

Earlier this year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a stay on the certification and testing requirements outlined by the CPSIA. The stay is in effect until Feb. 10, 2010. Under the stay, products may be legally sold without certification or testing; however, all products are still required to adhere to the lead and phthalate content limitations defined by the Act.


Global harmonization and ergonomics

In 2003, the United Nations (UN) adopted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS includes criteria for the classi-fication of health, physical and environmental hazards, as well as specifying what information should be included on labels of hazardous chemicals as well as safety data sheets. The United States was an active participant in the development of the GHS, and is a member of the UN bodies established to maintain and coordinate implementation of the system.


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