SGIA Participates in Spokane Workshop on Inadvertent PCBs in Pigments

SGIA accepted an invitation to speak at the Inadvertently Produced PCBs in Inks and Pigments Workshop in Spokane, WA. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Spokane River Regional Toxics Task Force (SRRTTF) SRRTTF, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and Northwest Green Chemistry (NGC). The goal of the workshop was to explore actions to keep PCBs from entering the Spokane River from printed products produced using inks that contain inadvertent PCBs. Inadvertent PCBs are created when certain pigments are produced. These pigments are then used to formulate inks to manufacture products and some PCB is released when printed paper and packaging is recycled. Other sources include wastewater discharge from residential, commercial, and industrial sources.

The Spokane River has been deemed an impaired waterway due to PCB contamination. Efforts are underway to identify all sources of PCBs and develop strategies to reduce them from being discharged into the river. SGIA was among the participants working collaboratively to explore innovative reduction strategies. The participants included SRRTTF members, pigment and ink manufacturers, industries that utilize pigments and inks, downstream suppliers of paper and packaging, other printing industry organizations, nongovernmental organizations, recyclers, procurement experts and regulators. SGIA’s role was to present information on the role in color in marketing, why and how printing is performed, explanation of the various printing processes, and sustainability initiatives in printing.

The goal of the workshop was met as it served as a basis to exchange information on the sources of PCBs in pigments, how PCBs move from manufacture of pigments and inks to the environment, technology innovation and alternatives to known inks and pigments that contain PCBs, and explore technical and regulatory options, purchasing guidelines and other solutions that could reduce the presence and released of inadvertent PCBs into the river. No final approaches were identified, and work will continue on identifying options for reducing PCB discharges into the river.

For additional information please contact SGIA’s Government Affairs Department at
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