A new study found that nearly 40 percent of imported plastic packaging tested violates state toxics laws.
The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse studied packaging purchased in eight discount retail chain stores in seven member states, including Iowa. Packaging from all eight chains failed screening tests for cadmium, with one sample also failing for lead. All of the failing samples were in imported polyvinylchloride (PVC) packaging.
Lead and cadmium are inexpensive pasticizers, but Iowa law restricts adding lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium to packaging because of the toxicity of the materials, particularly when it breaks down after being discarded.
"Packaging in violation of state laws is likely not one-time sourcing or production mistakes, but rather appears pervasive in imported PVC packaging, whereas U.S. packaging consistently tests safe," said Kathleen Hennings, a DNR environmental specialist who heads Iowa's toxics in packaging program.
Packaging that failed the screening tests was not confined to any specific product sectors but included children's products, pet supplies, personal care, household items, home furnishings, hardware and apparel.
Nineteen U.S. states have toxics in packaging requirements. Ten states, including Iowa, are members of the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse. Its mission, in part, is to reduce the amount and toxicity of packaging at the source, before it enters the solid waste stream.
You can read the report here.