Ink Certification Program

Get it in Ink

The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) established a Ink Certification Program effective January 1, 1990. The purpose of the program is to certify that participants' products are labeled in accordance with federal law pertaining to acute and chronic toxicity. Under the program, writing ink formulations are submitted to a WIMA retained toxicologist for review (subject to a confidentiality agreement). The toxicologist determines what labeling, if any, is required for the formulation.

The need for this type of certification arose as a result of state laws which require that schools purchase only items that have been properly labeled in accordance with ASTM D4236. ASTM D4236 is a voluntary labeling standard developed through the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and essentially requires that specific warnings be given as to specific hazards. In 1988, Congress, responding to the public concern about this issue, enacted the Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act of 1988. Pub. L. No. 100-695. This new federal law adopted the ASTM D4236 standard and requires that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issue chronic hazard guidelines to define the type of chronic concerns raised by state regulatory authorities.

The Duke University Occupational Health Department, serves as the WIMA medical advisor. Materials cannot be used in WIMA Certification Program approved programs unless they meet very strict requirements.

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