Frequently Asked Question

Are printing inks environmentally friendly/earth friendly/environmentally safe?

Unknown. According to the CSA-ISO Standard 14021 claims such as “environmentally friendly”, “ecological (eco)”, and “green” are vague claims and should be reserved for products/services whose life cycles have been thoroughly examined and verified. Printing inks have not undergone complete life cycle analysis.

An environmental claim that is vague or non-specific or which broadly implies that a product is environmentally beneficial or environmentally benign shall not be used.   CAN/CSA-ISO 14021, Clause 5.3

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Will ink biodegrade/compost?

(Extracted from the British Coating Federation Environmental Impact of Printing Inks statement)

Biodegradation is the process where microbes breakdown the material to water, carbon dioxide and some biomass that has no detrimental effect on the soil.  Composting is the process of controlled biodegradation outside a landfill.

Ink, as supplied to the printer, will not meet biodegradation requirements.  This is due to the presence of water insoluble pigments and resins in the ink.

When applied to a substrate, the compostability/biodegradability of the PRINTED product depends primarily on the characteristics of the substrate. Printing ink layers are very thin (1 to 5 μm max.) and generally cover the substrate only partially (<1% by weight). In general, the presence of print on a printed article will not prevent the article from complying with the biodegradation requirements. Any residues of print, which may remain after biodegradation, are inert and would not be considered as being harmful to the environment.

Complete statement can be found at:

What is De-inkability? 

(Extracted from the European Recovered Paper Council’s Guide to an Optimum Recyclability of Printed Graphic Paper)

De-inkability is a term used to describe how easily a printing ink film can be removed from the paper fibres.

If the ink is printed on coated substrates, there is no contact between printing ink and paper fibres.  In general no de-inking problems
should arise, because the paper coating disintegrates as the recovered paper is pulped and fragments of the ink film are released.  

On uncoated substrates the adhesion of printing ink depends, firstly, on paper properties such as surface structure, fibre type,
ash contents, etc. and, secondly, on  the drying mechanism of the chosen printing process. Printing inks which form firmly sticking,
tenacious printing ink films are more difficult to remove from the fibre. Examples are inks drying by polymerisation
(oxidative drying, radiation curing). The ageing of offset inks based upon oxidative drying materials can also significantly
reduce the deinkability.

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What is RoHS?  Do your inks comply?

RoHS is European Directive 2002/95/EC Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment.  It restricts the use of lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in electrical and electronic equipment components to 0.1% by weight; cadmium is restricted to 0.01% by weight.    These four heavy metals and two classes of flame retardants are deemed to pose risks to health or the environment during the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment.

It is unlikely that an ink manufacture will intentionally use these materials.  Please contact your ink supplier for confirmation.

Full text of Directive (and amendments) can be found at:

What is BOD?

BOD is Biochemical Oxygen Demand.  It measures the amount of oxygen required or consumed for the microbiological decomposition (oxidation) of organic material in water.   The standard unit of measure is milligram/Litre (mg/L) of oxygen consumed in 5 days at a constant temperature of 20°C in the dark.

The purpose of this indicator is to assess the quality of water available to consumers. It is also one of a group of indicators of ecosystem health.

Strict water quality standards have been established to protect users from health and other adverse consequences of poor water quality. The presence of high BOD may indicate faecal contamination or increases in particulate and dissolved organic carbon. Increased concentrations of dissolved organic carbon can create problems in the production of safe drinking water if chlorination is used, as disinfection by-products, such as trihalomethanes and other compounds toxic to humans, may be produced. Increased oxygen consumption poses a potential threat to a variety of aquatic organisms, including fish. It is, therefore, important to monitor organic pollution to identify areas posing a threat to health, to identify sources of contamination, to ensure adequate treatment, and provide information for decision making to enhance water sustainability.   BOD is also a useful measure to assess the effectiveness of current water treatment processes.

Extracted from:  The United Nations Methodology Sheets for freshwater analysis

What is the Swiss Ordinance for Food Packaging Inks?

The Swiss Ordinance is an inventory of substances that may be used in the production of food  packaging inks.  This “positive list” is divided into two sections –an “A list” for evaluated substances and a “B list” for unevaluated ones.  The legislation establishes a system where the Swiss government evaluates a substance and, when appropriate, gives the substance official approval by moving the substance from the B list to the A list.

Substances on the B list (unevaluated) must comply with a strict migration limit of 0.01 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), or 10 parts per billion.   For substances on the A list, the limit could be could be above 50 ppb.

The majority of the variables influencing migration from printed packaging are not controlled by the ink manufacturer–e.g. pack design, use of inner and outer wrappings, substrate selection, material barrier properties, extent of curing and drying, opportunities for set-off, storage conditions, nature of the packaging foodstuff, etc.  The same ink printed under different conditions of use, on different pack designs and substrates, can have completely different migration performances.

With ink components, migration can occur either through the substrate, through set-off to the food contact side of substrate during storage, or by gas-phase transfer.  More converters and food packagers will have to test their packaging to show compliance with the new migration limits, and may have to change packaging designs to use low migration inks.

All food packaging material suppliers (e.g. inks, substrate, adhesive, coatings, etc.) and food packaging printers must adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for the production of food contact materials and articles.

Extracted from:

New Noise Regulation -

December 17, 2015

Extracted from:


A new Noise Regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) was approved on December 9, 2015:

This regulation (O. Reg. 381/15) replaces the noise protection requirements set out in the regulations for Industrial Establishments, Mines and Mining Plants, and Oil and Gas-Offshore. It extends the noise protection requirements contained in the regulations below to all workplaces under OHSA:

The Farming Operations Regulation has also been amended so the new Noise Regulation will apply to farming operations:

New workplaces covered by this regulation include:

  • construction projects
  • health care facilities
  • schools
  • farming operations
  • fire services
  • police services
  • amusement parks

The Noise Regulation comes into effect on July 1, 2016. It will help protect Ontario's workers from noise-induced hearing loss, a leading cause of occupational disease for Ontario workers.
The new regulation is in keeping with changes proposed by the Ministry of Labour in a Summary of Proposal. A 60-day public consultation was held from October 28 to December 29, 2014.


Key changes include:

  1. New Noise Regulation:
    • prescribing, for workers exposed to noise, a maximum time-weighted exposure limit of 85 decibels over an eight-hour work shift
    • requiring employers to put in place measures to reduce workers’ exposure based on a “hierarchy of controls”, which could include engineering controls, work practices, and the use of personal protective equipment in the form of hearing protection devices and
    • requiring employers who provide a worker with a hearing protection device to provide adequate training and instruction on that device.
  2. Amendments to the regulations for Industrial Establishments, Mines and Mining Plants, and Oil and Gas-Offshore:
    • The noise protection sections in the Industrial Establishments, Mines and Mining Plants, and Oil and Gas-Offshore Regulations were revoked. They are now incorporated into the new Noise Regulation.
  3. Amendments to the Farming Operations Regulation:
    • The Farming Operations Regulation was amended in order to apply the Noise Regulationto farming operations.

For more information, visit the Source Law section of the e-Laws website: Noise Regulation.

Safety Videos On-line

Safety Videos On-Line

Report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Extracted from:

The rules for reporting greenhouse gas emissions.


Ontario has amended its greenhouse gas emissions reporting regulation to support a future cap and trade program covering the most significant activities that emit greenhouse gases– including the combustion of fuels from fuel suppliers and distributors. The amendment will take effect on January 1, 2016.

The amended regulation and guideline can be found on Ontario's Environmental Registry.

FDA Files Petition to Revoke Clearances for Certain Phthalates
Article By: a resource by Keller and Heckman

On April 12, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for consideration a food additive petition that calls on the Agency to revoke the regulatory clearances for 30 ortho-phthalates when used as components of food-contact articles. The petition, submitted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and several other nongovernment organizations, also requested that FDA removed five ortho-phthalates from the list of prior-sanctioned substances in Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Part 181.27 and prohibit the use of eight specific ortho-phthalates by issuing a new regulation in 21 C.F.R. Part 189.

FDA did not accept for consideration the second two requests since they do not fall within the scope of a food additive petition. Specifically, the Agency explained in their April 12th letter to the NRDC that since the five ortho-pthalates (diethyl phthalate, ethyl phthalyl ethyl glycolate, butyl phthalyl butyl glycolate, diisooctyl phthalate, and di(2-ethylhexy1) phthalate) are prior sanctioned, they are exempt from the definition of a food additive. Similarly, the Agency informed the Petitioners that a food additive petition cannot be the basis of a request to ban the use of a food additive pursuant to the statutory provisions in Section 409(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  The eight ortho-phthalates are diisobutyl phthalate, di-n-butyl phthalate, butyl benzyl phthalate, dicyclohexyl phthalate, di-n-hexyl phthalate, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, and diisononyl phthalate. However, FDA suggested that both of these requests could be submitted through a citizen petition.
FDA is statutorily obligated to publish a notice in the Federal Register that formally announces the petition has been accepted and is under review within 30 days after April 12th. The Agency has up to 180 days from the date of filing to consider the petition and make a formal decision on its merits. 

© 2016 Keller and Heckman LLP

FDA Files Petition to Revoke Clearances for Certain Phthalates