Packaging Study Shows Need for More Vigilance To Ensure Compliance, Vinyl Institute Says

July 24, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
ARLINGTON, VA, July 24 — The Vinyl Institute said today that a recent study finding some packaging and inks on packaging of imported products out of compliance with several states’ lead and cadmium limits suggested a need for more vigilance by the import/distribution/retail chain in ensuring product and packaging compliance.

The study, conducted by the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, reportedly found levels of lead and cadmium in some packaging and inks that exceeded regulatory levels set under so-called CONEG toxics in packaging laws (originally developed by the Coalition of Northeast Governors to address waste issues). Some 19 states have adopted such laws, which prohibit deliberate use of metals such as lead and cadmium and limit incidental levels to 100 parts per million.

Among the samples found to be out of compliance were a substantial percentage of flexible PVC packages containing imported products.

On the other hand, all of the clear, rigid PVC “blister” packaging, used for products such as medicines, that was tested passed, according to the Clearinghouse. Overall PVC packaging compliance was on a par with that of the other packaging materials tested in the study, based on data reviewed by VI.

Lead and cadmium have been used as stabilizers in the production of PVC products, as coloring agents in inks, and for other applications. However, today in the United States, the vast majority of PVC stabilizers are based on compounds of tin, calcium or zinc, which are widely accepted by regulatory agencies and the public, rather than lead or cadmium.

Tim Burns, president of the Vinyl Institute, said, “There is no reason for PVC packaging to be out of compliance with state packaging laws. Wherever these problems are originating, the manufacturer/supply chain must do a better job to ensure compliance.”

The report did not look at health risks, nor did it suggest that the contaminant levels found in the packaging posed health risks.

The study also inadvertently raised concerns about test methods. It showed that depending on which method or testing apparatus was used, results could differ by as much as a factor of 100. This variance suggested a need for more analysis of the accuracy of various analytical methods, according to VI.

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