Inks and Chemicals — Environmental Challenges
"We have reduced the average petroleum-based solvent content of our conventional ink formulations from 29 percent to less than 22 percent, utilizing the combination of soy-based oils and other materials that have either none, or substantially reduced, concentrations of VOCs," she says. "This represents a 24 percent reduction of VOC content in our standard ink formulations."
As environmental standards set forth by the EPA, OSHA, state and local governing bodies intensifies, so does the pressure upon manufacturers to comply with the most updated edicts. That in itself can be a tough task, according to Duane Ness, director of manufacturing services for Flint Ink.
"From a health and safety standpoint, knowing and understanding changing laws that affect how chemical constituents of our products must be safely handled by both our employees and our customers is challenging," Ness says. "Many commonly used chemicals have recently been added to state or federal lists that designate them as potentially harmful to human health. When material ingredients are designated harmful to human health, they must be replaced by safer materials or, if that is not feasible, employees must be trained about their possible risks so that those risks can be mitigated with protective personal equipment. Customers must also be informed of these material designations in their product labels or MSDSs so that their employees can be adequately protected.
"Maintaining environmental compliance has forced many of us to increase our emissions monitoring. Environmental compliance affects how we store goods and materials outdoors, and how we properly dispose of waste."
Ness notes that many commercial printers are leaning on ink and chemical manufacturers to reduce health and environmental HMIS ratings on products supplied to them. A number of them have taken a hard line on products that contain Proposition 65 ingredients.
"Many printers are reducing their emissions of VOCs and HAP so they must have ink and press chemical products that are lower in VOC and HAP constituents," he points out.