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RE: Re: Metals in Printing Ink

Title: RE: Re: Metals in Printing Ink

What you say is correct, Debby.

We should consider some additional relevant information, however. First, during my 11 years in the printing industry, never did an environmental agency raise a red flag about barium, either in the information that I supplied to them or in any discussions held between EPA and the printing industry trade associations' environmental committees, several of which I was actively involved with.

Note also that the organo-metallic compounds that make good pigments are highly stable as they would need to be to make the inks colorfast. Colorfastness is the property of printing inks that enables the images on the products with which they are printed (magazines, inserts, etc.) to maintain their intended properties. These properties are maintained for an extended amount of time-through the printing process, through shipment to the newstand, through the ride home with the purchaser, through the dash in the rain into the house, through the weeks on the coffee table in the sunlight, through the years in the local library and, yes, even through the decades in the landfill.

Colorfastness avoids faces that turn green or images that fade to invisibility. Barium, copper and iron are the bases of those organo-metallic pigments-in the same way that magnesium is the basis for chlorophyll (a green "pigment", albeit not a very colorfast one) and the way iron is the basis of hemoglobin (the red "pigment" that is the carrier of oxygen in your red blood cells). Consequently, the barium that is the basis of barium lithol red (magenta) pigment, and the copper and iron that are the basis of two blue (iron blue and cyan) organo-metallic pigments used in printing inks are not readily available to the environment.

You might also be interested in knowing that the vitamins that I take every day contains...you guessed it-barium, iron and copper. It even contains chromium which many consider worse for the environment...and for humans...than the others. Micro-nutrient experts have been showing that these and many other minerals are essential to human health and longevity. The only two metals that are known to be harmful-i.e. zero is the only appropriate human consumption level-are mercury and lead.

One final comment, Debby. The medical diagnostic community uses barium to make soft tissue in a subject's digestive system show up on x-rays. If an individual who is experiencing stomach pain is faced with a barium cocktail as a means of diagnosing his or her ailment, should he or she refuse just because barium is a RCRA metal?


Barium is also a RCRA metal, in addttion to lead and chromium.  Also, note that a chemical present at 1%, as some metals are in these inks, is still concentrated at 10,000 ppm!  Thhe haz waste toxicity charcteristic metal concentrations are far less than 10,000 ppm!  Chemicals that represent less than 1% by weight in a product formulation do not have to be listed on an MSDS and maybe up to 10,000 ppm in concentration!  Be careful relying on percent by weight info and relating to haz waste concentrations...
-----Original Message-----
From: Listman [mailto:listman@wmrc.uiuc.edu]
Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 8:34 AM
To: P2tech@great-lakes.net
Subject: Fwd: Re: Metals in Printing Ink

X-Sender: gmiller@wmrc.uiuc.edu
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Date: Thu, 08 Aug 2002 08:52:47 -0500
To: Listman <listman@wmrc.uiuc.edu>
From: Gary Miller <gmiller@wmrc.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Re: Metals in Printing Ink


One good way to search for info. on this subject is to use the search feature on the PNEAC web site.  I typed in metal and found the following information:

A good contact on this question is:

George Fuchs
Director, Environmental Affairs
National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers
777 Terrace Ave.
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604
Tel.: 201/288-9454
Fax: 201/288-9453

On June 1, 1998 Doreen Monteleone of FTA answered essentially the same question from Donna Pederson of MinnTAP as follows:

If the inserts were printed flexographically, it is unlikely. Most ink
companies have stopped adding lead, mercury, cadmium or hexavalent chromium
to flexo inks. I'm aware that Minnesota regulates the use of these and
have recently consulted a few ink companies.

Hope this helps.


At 07:52 AM 8/8/2002 -0500, you wrote:
Forwarded on behalf of Rusty Harris-Bishop.  Please reply to p2tech@great-lakes.net.

I have a question regarding the color inserts in newspapers (I believe it's a flexographic process). Does anyone know if they still use metal inks in printing these? Does anyone know when they were phased out if they were? I have looked on the print-tech archives, and didnt' see it answered, and posted a question, but it didn't seem to get a response.

Anyone have any suggestions?


Rusty Harris-Bishop




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