Health in the swamp

Printing shouldn’t make you sick.

It’s a story I’ve told many times when the topic has turned to health in textile screen shops.

I was at a gathering of about a dozen or so screen printers discussing the latest developments in plastisol ink. This was some years back when it was still news that lead and Phthalates had been removed from leading brands of ink. The point being made was that printers should be pleased that ink was now ‘healthier’ to work with.

One shop owner startled us (and perhaps put things in perspective) by saying that on his way out of his shop to meet with us (this was a medium-sized Canadian shop with a two automatics and a few manual presses) he walked by the swamp where a mixture of water and chemicals was being sprayed in all directions and hung like a fog in the air. The two people cleaning the screens were in shorts and Tees and wearing none of the provided protective gear at all.

His point was that he couldn’t see why he should care about a bit of lead and phthalates in ink when his staff didn’t care about working in a fog of chemicals in the swamp. Of course we could add pallet aerosol adhesive to this argument too.

So, the question for your shop is how much do you and your staff care about working in a healthy environment where product safety and safe application matter? What precautions do you take to safeguard everyone’s health?