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The Shocking News First:
In June of 2012, Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) released their “2012 Assessment of Heavy Metals in Packaging: A Focus on Flexible PVC from Discount Retail Chain Stores”.  The samples were focused in the nineteen U.S. States that have laws prohibiting the sale or distribution of packaging containing intentionally added cadmium, lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium.  Although the findings for heavy metals were down from the 2009 report, flexible PVC is still failing at a rate of 15-39% of tested imported packaging.  The category of “toys, games, and crafts” had the highest fail rate of 39% of total packages tested for restricted heavy metals.

After Testing:
The retail chains where heavy metals were found in their packaging were contacted and asked to remove the product from their shelves and to conduct corrective action measures to eliminate this packaging.  With fail rates of fifteen to thirty-nine percent, we have to wonder how much is currently on the shelf that wasn’t tested and still remains on a peg hook today.

What to Watch For:
It amazes me how the U.S. continues to struggle with imported goods containing toxic heavy metals.  According to Patricia Dillon, Program Manager at TPCH, the products to watch out for are those that are not packaged in the U.S.  Flexible PVC and inks/colorants dominated the non-compliant packaging issues.

Now What?
The best way manufacturers can protect themselves is to know their supplier and where they get their materials.  Mercury Plastics, Inc. only uses materials that comply with all specifications for heavy metals and additionally strives to design the most sustainable packaging solutions for our customers.  Partnering with innovative U.S. suppliers that certify their materials, as Mercury Plastics does, will help to eliminate costly recalls as well as protect the name and integrity of your product.

To read the full report from the TPCH, Click Here.

For further information on how you can be protected from imported packaging containing toxic heavy metals, contact Brian Pankratz at Mercury Plastics, Inc. (bpankratz@mercuryplasticsinc.com)

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