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Polymer Characterization

Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) Testing 

The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse was developed to reduce the amount of four heavy metals that were being found in packing and associated materials. Legislation based on the model legislation has been adopted by many states within the United States but also has a version adopted by the European Union.

The total concentration levels of lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium present that were incidentally introduced in any package or individual packaging component is not permitted to exceed 100 parts per million by weight. Some exemptions are permitted and vary state to state.

In February of 2021, new model legislation was introduced which includes perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and ortho-phthalates as regulated chemicals, as well as new processes and criteria for identifying and regulating additional chemicals of high concern in packaging. Current adoption varies state by state since it is up to each legislature to enact laws for their state.


Heavy metals compliance is ensured by use of X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF). This inexpensive and quick technique scans the packaging materials and determines if the levels of restricted metals potentially within a sample are less than the mandated limits. This method is not specific to hexavalent chromium and only measures total chromium. If the sample passes this initial assessment, then it is found to be TPCH compliant and no additional testing is required. If the levels of the restricted metals are in excess of the 1000 ppm limit, a secondary method specific to hexavalent chromium is utilized to determine actual hexavalent chromium content rather than total chromium content.

Phthalate testing is conducted using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC/MS). PFAS testing is conducted using liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry (LC/MS).


At SGS PSI our chemists have several decades of experience with packaging analysis and testing for hazardous or toxic components. Our material testing experts will help you meet your compliance requirements and ensure your packaging materials are fit for purpose.

Our experience with XRF Testing, in addition to TPCH Certification includes:

  • RoHS Certification
  • Alloy Verification 

Sample Considerations

Contact an expert to talk through your specific sample considerations