State toxics in packaging laws restrict the total concentration of four metals – lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium – in packaging. The California Department of Toxics Substances Control (DTSC) contracted with NERC, the administrator of the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH), to perform a round-robin study to evaluate the performance of testing laboratories in determining compliance with toxics in packaging statutes. The study specifically focused on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) matrices.
For the past five years, TPCH has screened packaging for compliance with state toxics in packaging laws using x-ray fluorescent (XRF) analysis. When TPCH compared XRF screening results obtained for packaging samples with laboratory analysis, TPCH learned that the results obtained from laboratory analysis did not necessarily correlate with XRF screening results. The underlying cause of the discrepancy between XRF and laboratory analysis appeared to be the selection of appropriate dissolution methods for preparing packaging samples for analysis. Simply put, if the sample is not completely digested, the restricted metals, if present, are not sufficiently liberated from the plastic and cannot be completely measured by the laboratory analytical equipment, since analytical instruments, such as ICP, measure the concentration of substances in the solution.
This TPCH report summarizes the performance of laboratories in determining compliance with the 100 ppm limit of toxics in packaging requirements. Based on the findings, the report presents recommendations for regulated entities (such as packaging suppliers, manufacturers and distributors of packaged products) and test laboratories to ensure that testing measures total concentration of restricted metals in the sample. A complete report is available on the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse website.
For more information on state toxics in packaging laws, visit the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse website.
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