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Heavy metals in packaging : a literature survey

Synopsis

The use of the heavy metals cadmium, mercury, chromium and lead in packaging is forbidden internationally for some years because these substances are harmful to the environment. In 2002 the Dutch national Inspectorate for the Environment determined the presence of heavy metals in packaging for consumer products.
A literature survey was commissioned by the Dutch national Inspectorate for the Environment. Objective was to gather information about actions and checks in other countries on the presence of heavy metals in packaging. gain knowledge about the current situation worldwide.
In this literature survey from the RIVM it appears that only in the U.S.A. two investigations were conducted that are comparable to the Dutch study. According to two American studies the same products have the same bad results as in the Netherlands: plastic bags and transparent packagings. Apart from these some smaller scale investigations on specific aspects of packaging were reported, such as on crates and on ink from recycled paper. It is possible that other actions exist but that the results are not published in open literature.
Furthermore, it appeared that governments put a lot of effort in informing producers and importers about the packaging regulations. No data were found if inspectorates enforce these regulations.

 

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