Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

USA: TPCH Updates Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation


The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) published1 an update of their Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation2 in February 2021. This includes newly added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and phthalates as regulated chemicals in packaging. It will be up to each state to adopt changes to their existing laws or adopt a new law to address toxics in packaging.

TPCH Model Legislation and laws enacted in 19 US states that prohibit the intentional use of cadmium, lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium in any finished package or packaging component. The sum of four heavy metals should not exceed 100 ppm and such requirement is the same as EU Directive 94/62/EC. TPCH is an organization to promote the Model Legislation and consistency in its implementation across states that adopted the Model Legislation. This Legislation applies to any container to provide a means of marketing, protecting or handling a product e.g. carrying cases, crates, cups, pails, rigid foil and other trays, wrappers and wrapping films, bags and tubs.

Phthalates are defined as all members of the class of organic chemicals that are esters of phthalic acid and that contain 2 carbon chains located in the ortho while PFAS refer to all members of the class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom. TPCH would like to address this as classes of substances just like the approach by New York State3 and Washington State4 for PFAS. Hence, the Legislation does not give a complete list of substances. 

Here are the key highlights for the updates of the Model Legislation:
  1. Newly added the following new toxic substances

    Substances Limit
    Phthalates <100 ppm by weight (sum)
    PFAS  Not detectable
  2. Introduced a new process and criteria to identify and prohibit packaging chemicals of high concern. Periodically review would be carried based on credible scientific evidence of the following:
    • known developmental/health effects 
    • persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT)/ Very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB)
    • persistent mobile and toxic/ Very Persistent mobile and toxic (vPvM)
    • biomonitoring detection in human fluids/tissues 
    • used/found in packaging

    The Legislation also added process options to phase out new toxic chemicals.

  3. Revised definition of “intentional introduction of regulated metals”. It clarifies that the use of post-consumer recycled material with regulated metals content as unintended or undesired presence. Post-consumer recycled material is also defined the Legislation
  4. Removed specific exemptions including date of packaging manufacture, vitrified labels testing criteria, reusable packaging in closed loop system with end of life recovery and state option for higher metals content due to recycled materials. However, the exemption of metals is retained.


[1]  New release from TCPH

[2]  Model toxics in packaging legislation

[3]  US New York bans PFAS in food packaging

[4]  US Washington bans PFAS in paper food packaging

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