Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation: An Overview

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Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation

The Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation has been adopted in 19 US states. The purpose of the regulation is to restrict the usage of heavy metals and chemicals in product packaging materials. In this guide, we explain what you should know about these restrictions, and the steps you can take to ensure compliance.


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What is the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation?

The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) developed the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation in 1989 to reduce the amount of heavy metals in packaging and its components distributed or sold throughout the United States.

The legislation provides a model that any individual state can follow and enforce at will, with or without modifying the original text of the legislation. So far, 19 states have adopted it.

The model legislation prohibits the intentional use in packaging of:

Additionally, it restricts the amount of the above mentioned heavy metals to 100 ppm (part per million) in total when they are incidentally introduced in packaging. It also sets certification requirements and test methods.

Note that, according to our research, the model legislation does not specify what PFAS or Phthalates are prohibited.

Which US states have adopted the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation?

As of today, 19 states in the US have adopted the model legislation. While 10 of these states are TPCH members, and can vote on changes regarding the legislation, the other 9 are not members.

Here we list the states that have adopted the model legislation, including their TPCH membership status:

  • California (member)
  • Connecticut (member)
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa (member)
  • Maine
  • Maryland (member)
  • Minnesota (member)
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire (member)
  • New Jersey (member)
  • New York (member)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island (member)
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington (member)
  • Wisconsin

Is compliance with the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation mandatory in these states?

If a state publishes a regulation that adopts the model legislation, it becomes mandatory for importers and manufacturers to adhere to such a regulation,

Note that individual state regulations might amend some parts of the model legislation. As such, importers and manufacturers must ensure that they comply with the requirements of the regulations in the states where they conduct their business, not just with the requirements of the model legislation.

In the table below, we list a few examples of states that adopted the model legislation and their respective regulations. We also list their heavy metal restrictions and certificate requirements.

State Regulation Max heavy metal concentration level (incidental presence) Certificate requirements
California Toxics in Packaging Prevention Act 100 ppm Same as model legislation, but you must furnish the certificate to the state when providing a certificate to a customer who claims exemption
New York Article 37-0201 100 ppm Same as model legislation
Washington Chapter 70.95G 100 ppm (only for intentionally introduced heavy metals) You must:

a. Draft a certificate of compliance confirming that the packaging complies with Chapter 70.95G

b. Provide the certificate to the Department of Ecology upon request (within sixty days)

New Jersey Section 13:1E-99.44 100 ppm Same as model legislation
Rhode Island General Law 23-18.13 100 ppm Same as model legislation

Restricted substances

The Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation forbids the intentional introduction of the following substances:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Hexavalent chromium
  • PFAS
  • Phthalates

It also requires importers and manufacturers to limit the concentration level of the four above-mentioned heavy metals to a maximum of 100 ppm in total, when they are “incidentally-introduced” in packaging.

Certificate of Compliance

The Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation requires importers and manufacturers to provide customers with a Certificate of Compliance upon request. The state authorities should also have access to the certificate.

Certificate of Compliance sample

According to the sample found on this page, a Certificate of Compliance must include statements certifying that:

a. The packaging and its components sold in the US comply with the requirements of applicable toxics in packaging law(s)

b. The regulated heavy metals were not intentionally added to any packaging during its manufacture

c. The sum of the incidental concentration levels of the chemicals mentioned above does not exceed 100 ppm

d. No materials replacing the regulated chemicals are present in an amount that poses a risk equal to or higher than the regulated chemicals

e. The certificate holder should provide documentation for inspection if requested

The certificate should also include the following information:

a. The company’s name and address

b. The certifier’s name, title, and signature

c. The date on which the certificate was signed

Additional requirements

Some states have additional requirements, such as the following:

a. California requires relevant parties to provide the state with a certificate of compliance when furnishing a certificate to a customer who claims an exemption

b. Washington requires manufacturers to provide the certificate of compliance to the Department of Ecology upon request within 60 days

Exemption Certificate of Compliance

The relevant party can also furnish an Exemption Certificate of Compliance upon request, when exemptions apply. Here are some examples of possible exemptions:

a. It is necessary to add heavy metals to the packaging to comply with federal or state health or safety requirements

b. There are no alternatives to using the heavy metals for function, protection, or safe handling of the package’s contents

Test methods

According to the TPCH, the sample preparation methods used to test and determine the total concentration of the four regulated heavy metals depend on the packaging material. Below, we provide some examples.

Plastic and ink

The TPCH lists the following test method for plastic packaging and inks:

a. EPA SW-846 Test Method 3052: Microwave Assisted Acid Digestion of Siliceous and Organically Based Matrices

Paper, cardboard, metal, and ink

The TPCH lists two possible test methods concerning packaging material made of paper, cardboard, or metal (and that might contain inks):

a. EPA SW-846 Test Method 3052: Microwave Assisted Acid Digestion of Siliceous and Organically Based Matrices

b. EPA SW-846 Test Method 3050B: Acid Digestion of Sediments, Sludges, and Soils

Glass and Ceramics

The TPCH recommends the usage of the following test method to analyze the content of metal concentration and other relevant properties of glass and ceramics:

a. EPA SW-846 Test Method 3052: Microwave Assisted Acid Digestion of Siliceous and Organically Based Matrices

Lab testing companies

Lab testing against relevant test methods is often necessary to prove compliance with applicable substance restrictions. According to the TPCH, labs qualified to test packaging materials in accordance to test methods that are relevant to the model legislation requirements should:

a. Be accredited by a nationally-renowned accrediting body

b. Demonstrate expertise in analyzing the material type or packaging components

We list below a few labs that offer testing services for the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation:

  • QIMA
  • SGS
  • Hong Kong Standards and Testing Center
  • (USA & EU)

    FREE CONSULTATION CALL (US, EU & UK)

    • Request a free 30-minute call with Ivan Malloci to learn how we can help you with:
    • Find product requirements
    • Certification and labeling
    • Lab testing

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    Disclaimer: The Site cannot and does not contain legal advice. The legal information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of legal advice. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THE SITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.

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    Sources: Our articles are written in part based on publicly available information, and our own practical experience relating to product compliance. These are some of the primary sources we use:

    • ec.europa.eu
    • echa.europa.eu
    • ecfr.gov
    • cpsc.gov
    • ftc.gov
    • fcc.gov
  • 1 Responses to “Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation: An Overview

    1. Daniel Wong at 6:47 pm

      Thanks for info given. Per my understanding, the requirement of ortho-phthalates and PFAS content are applied to food packaging only.
      Pls correct me if my interpretation is wrong.

      Thanks

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