Foundations in Graphic Communications: Checking Color Proofs

New York City College Of Technology
Advertising Design & Graphic Arts: NYCCT

The Course At A Glance


Foundations In Graphic Communications
Patrick Henry     (p) 718.847.9430     (c) 917.647.0590     (e)

  ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES FOR PUBLISHING (IV): Toxic Pollutants And Air Emissions  

About 30 percent of the 126 toxic pollutants listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found in printing and publishing operations.

Organic pollutants include substances like benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and isopropyl alcohol. Metals of concern are known as "heavy metals," and they include lead, mercury, silver, and chromium.

Many inks contain heavy metals, which are used to give the pigments color and substance. Silver is a by- product of photo-processing; fortunately, it can be recovered from spent fixing solutions before it enters the waste stream. Toxic organics are components of pressroom chemical compounds such as press washes. Some are being phased out of use thanks to their replacement by non-toxic substitutes.

"Air emissions from the offset lithographic printing process are primarily generated from inks, fountain solutions, cleaning solvents, and adhesives applied during folding. Emissions from printing ink consist of ink oil in both the particulate and the vapor state. The fountain solution, cleaning solvents, and adhesives typically contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which can evaporate in the pressroom atmosphere during printing or discharge from a drying-oven air stack." VOCs are thought to be key ingredients of urban smog.

The federal government's 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments requires all major sources of air pollutants to obtain operating permits and adhere to a variety of reporting and pollution-control compliance requirements. A printing plant can be considered a major source of pollution if it has the potential to emit at least 10 tons of VOCs per year and is located in an "ozone non-attainment area" as defined by the EPA.

Basically, this means that most large printing plants in urban areas--especially those in the Maine-to- Virginia region--will be subject to air permit requirements.

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