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Beware of ink migration, says expert

Wednesday, 23 January 2019
By Print 21 Online Article

Label printers and packagers need to be aware of the risks associated with chemical migration, according to a new white paper from Jet Technologies.

Low-weight particles with a molecular weight of less than 1000 Daltons can enter cells in the human body, and regulations thus focus on these chemicals, according to white paper author James Montgomery, senior ink specialist at Jet Technologies.

“Migration can lead to contamination of food with hazardous chemical substances,” writes Montgomery. “Possible sources of migratable materials include: inks, coating and adhesives, the environment (climate, transportation, storage), substrate (paper and board, films, storage) and presses (contamination, hygiene, detergent).”

European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA) regulations dictate that migration must be below 10 parts per billion for substances that have not been toxicologically evaluated, but can be as high as 50ppb for approved substances.

According to Montgomery, factors such as substrate, film weight, and lamination can affect the amount of migrating material. “Varnishing and laminates may seal in the ink and make it more resistant to solvents, but neither will automatically eliminate migration.

“They may slow down or reduce migration; however, neither coatings nor laminates are absolute barriers,” he writes.

The Food packaging compliance ink: label printing need to knows white paper can be accessed at

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