Ink - Health and Environmental Aspects

Health and Environmental Aspects

See also: Environmental issues with paper

There is a misconception that ink is non-toxic even if swallowed. Once ingested, ink can be hazardous to one's health. Certain inks, such as those used in digital printers, and even those found in a common pen can be harmful. Though ink does not easily cause death, inappropriate contact can cause effects such as severe headaches, skin irritation, or nervous system damage. These effects can be caused by solvents, or by pigment ingredients such as p-Anisidine, which helps create some inks' color and shine.

Three main environmental issues with ink are:

  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Heavy metals
  • Non-renewable oils

Some regulatory bodies have set standards for the amount of heavy metals in ink. There is a trend toward vegetable oils rather than petroleum oils in recent years in response to a demand for better environmental sustainability.

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