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  QUESTION: Lead In Rubber, 03 Apr 2006, New South Wales Australia

My Company is a local Manufacturer of rubber based products for commercial and consumer use and we are currently being invaded by imported products from China. We have had most of our competitors imported products tested by University of NSW for heavy metal content and contents of polymer. As all of the products we have tested are manufactured from recycled rubber their heavy metal content is alarming. Especially, lead.
Some of which is as high as 177 mg/kg our locally manufactured product contains 1.86 mg/kg. My problem is no one can advise me what is a safe or maximum level of lead in these products.
Can you help ? or maybe give advice.
In anticipation.
Bruce Mighell
ANSWER: 20 Jul 2006

Dear Bruce,
I'm sorry for the very late reply. We have tried to contact the EEA (European Environment Agency) to ask about the lead standard in rubber. However, we did not receive any reply yet. We will let you know should there be any reply.
What we do know is that there is no standard for lead in rubber in Australia. Rubber is not mentioned in Standard for Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons. However, according to the many electronic companies (such as fuji film), the presence of lead in rubber should be below 1000 ppm (1000mg/kg). These companies adapted the regulation from ROHS. According to http://thor.inemi.org/webdownload/newsroom/Presentations/11.pdf, ROHS is a EU Directive 2002/95/EC "On the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment". In other companies such as LG electronic [http://www.lg.com/global/sustainability/environment/management-of-hazardous-substances ], the company restricts the lead level up to 10 times less than the limit from ROHS to ensure that their products are more environmentally-friendly. In addition, the University of North Carolina says, the legal limit for lead on paint in children products should be below 600 ppm.
I hope this information helps.
Regards,
Erik Wibowo
(Research Assistant of Global Lead Advice and Support Service)
Also see: Lead in mats
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