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FLEXO Magazine : June 2008
PLANTS & PROCESSES centrations fell below detection limits. . Neither lead-free inks nor lead-free certifications are warrant- ed. Instead, ask your supplier to provide lead compliance infor- mation for the products it provides to your company. You should also determine if the product has been tested by an independent laboratory. If so, request a copy of the results. If the supplier has not performed a recent test, you may want to request an updated lead analysis. If you have a specific regulation you need to com- ply with, tell your supplier, so that the proper test method can be used to demonstrate compliance. Another method that flexo- graphic printers use to evalu- ate lead concentrations in their finished products is to analyze samples of finished products us- ing an X-ray fluorescence device or by submitting samples to an independent laboratory. There are pros and cons with any sampling method but the important part is that the finished products be analyzed to establish a baseline as to how much lead is currently present. Once the printer has an idea of how much lead is in the finished product, lead level guidelines can be established and a periodic monitoring program implemented. This should serve as a good starting point for printers to perform their due diligence in guarding the consumer and the environment from hazardous exposure to lead. As finished products are evaluated, keep in mind that lead im- purities exist in all chemicals, not just inks. Lead impurities are caused by a variety of potential sources that are difficult to avoid. There are naturally occurring levels of lead in the environment that will cause impurities in raw materials that are extracted from the earth. Pigments, especially those that are metallic based, are the primary source for lead impurities in inks. Raw materials may also become contaminated with lead during the refining process and through contact with piping and vessels. Understanding how lead is regulated and what levels are pres- ent in your finished product is key when addressing product safe- ty concerns in the flexographic community. Flexographic printers looking to evaluate lead concentrations in their finished products have various methods and tools available to them to make an accurate assessment. Flexographic printers will also benefit from good relationships with vendors that provide accurate product compliance information instead of statements that mislead the printing community. For more information on regulations concerning lead, its tox- icity, or how to determine if your products are compliant, contact your suppliers or a certified independent laboratory that special- izes in product testing. . ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Greg Cansler is a compliance specialist at Premier Ink Systems. He has eight years of experience address- ing product safety compliance issues within the flexographic printing industry. 9300 Rim Señes 9400 Paper Señes IV Flell 8300 Series IV Bltarv Screen W200 Paper Series W300 Film Series Water Base Flell OP Series IV Overprint Varnishes 6300 IV onset 1300 IV Lenerpress ([oi) } lTRERS INST Nazdar · Corporate Headquarters 8501 Hedge Lane Terrace · Shawnee, KS 66227-3290 Toll-free: 800.767.9942 · Phone: 913.422.1888 International Customer Service: 913.422.2255 For more information visit: www.Nazdar.com