Paint and ink manufacturing has been through dramatic changes due to a call for environmental and consumer protection awareness. Research surrounding harmful contaminants and their use has influenced government regulation, embodied by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, in most industries with the purpose of creating an informed public. The most common example in the paint and ink industry would be the ban of lead pigment-based paints in 1978. A toxic heavy metal, lead was found to negatively affect most systems in the body, especially the nervous system, over prolonged exposure causing cancer and other complications. The further discovery of materials that can contaminate or alter consumer paints and inks has led to the need for quality control as well as research and development devoted to more conscious products.
The possible contaminants found in the process of ink production is made up of ingredients, byproducts, and other materials the final product may come in contact with during manufacturing:
• Metals, such as chromium, cadmium, lead, and zinc
• VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
• Ethyl Benzene
• Various Solvents
• Residual Paint or Ink
• Bacteria, etc.
Most are not easily detectable due to their chemical properties, and require specialized processes to determine presence and levels. Bacteria were the subject of recent discussion surrounding tattoo ink in 2014 when tattoo recipients noticed symptoms such as fevers, rashes, and excessive pain. A California company was forced to recall when tests found evidence of bacteria in unopened bottles of ink. The FDA further warned that this had not been, and would not be, the only case of contaminated ink affecting consumers, and manufacturers.
Contaminated paints and inks present both potential health concerns and business-related obstacles. The list above contains multiple carcinogens and allergens harmful to the human body and the immediate environment. Each can be assumed to have properties that affect normal bodily processes in humans, at the very least causing headaches and skin irritation. Also, the potential for negative environmental consequences, especially in the form of waste, is noteworthy as it still directly affects the general population.
There are risks for manufacture companies in the industry as well. Clean up costs after the fact, including public relations, are the first to come to mind. But it is the quality of the product that is undermined by potential impurities. In an industry that already worries about the effect of the product on the consumer, maintaining a consistent product is important to longevity, both in profit and usefulness of a product. Consequently, taking the time to find impurities in a paint or ink product before market is an essential step in preventing recalls or other similar outcomes.
Contamination testing provides the answer in identifying a contaminant, if any, and in helping to find possible solutions for future batches. By adding a step for quality control testing into the overall production process, likely useless batches can be reversed more quickly allowing a manufacturer to minimize potentially harmful or low quality products to enter the market. At Avomeen our staff is skilled in various research methods, such as chemical testing, that help locate impurities to their smallest presence. Our results will give you the opportunity to make informed decisions in the future of your paint and ink production.