Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse launches new study to test inks, colorants in single-use shopping, mail order bags for presence of lead, cadmium; both metals legally restricted in 19 U.S. states

BRATTLEBORO, Vermont , December 2, 2011 (press release) – The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) launched a new study that will test inks and colorants in single-use shopping and mail order bags for the presence of lead and cadmium. The use of these toxic metals is restricted by toxics in packaging laws in nineteen U.S. states.

This study is a follow up to two previous projects by the TPCH that identified inks and colorants as a potential source of lead and cadmium in packaging. TPCH is collecting retail packaging samples through the end of the year. In January, the packaging samples will be screened using an x-ray fluorescent (XRF) instrument that allows for the inexpensive and rapid detection of elemental composition. Samples that screen positive for the restricted metals will be sent to laboratories for confirmatory testing.

As with past projects, TPCH member states may use the test results to pursue enforcement of their state laws. Penalties for non-compliance with state laws vary. In New York, for example, the penalties for violations of the Hazardous Packaging Act are up to $10,000 for the first violation and up to $25,000 per violation for each violation thereafter. Each package on the shelf constitutes a separate and distinct violation. Similarly, in Connecticut and Iowa, a violation could result in a penalty of $10,000 per day per violation.

About the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse. The TPCH supports and helps coordinate the implementation of states' toxics in packaging laws. Ten states -- California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington –are members of the TPCH. The TPCH, which is administered by the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC), serves as a central location for processing information requests from external constituencies and promoting compliance with the laws.

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