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How to Test the Ink in Newspapers to See if It Is Toxic

Updated April 17, 2017

Though newspaper ink has notoriously been known to be toxic in past years, Newspaper Association of America (NAA) regulations have required newspapers to switch to natural ink make of soy products. According to the NAA, over 95 per cent of newspapers use this new, more environmentally friendly ink as of 2010, but the remaining 5 per cent or so may still contain toxic materials. Toxic ink can cause repercussions if recycled since recycled newsprint usually goes into other materials such as cardboard or other widely used materials. Old newsprint is also used as animal bedding and could cause harm to animals.

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  1. Rub the newspaper with your fingers. Look at your fingers to determine how much ink has rubbed off. Wash your hands immediately if a dark, black film appears on your fingers.

  2. Hold the newspaper up to the light of a lamp. Determine if the coloured ink is brighter and if the black print is sharp, clear and dark. Dispose of the newspaper if the ink appears faded or bland since toxic petroleum-based inks aren't as dark as soy-based inks.

  3. Call your local newspaper and ask which type of inks they use in production if you're still unsure. Research the ink type to ensure they are soy-based.

  4. Tip

    Don't worry if only a film appears on your fingertips since environmentally-friendly inks still have a small rub off.

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Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Phone
  • Lamp

About the Author

Brittiany Cahoon

Brittiany Cahoon began writing professionally in 2003. She has been published as a reporter and columnist in the "Mountaineer Progress," "The Rattler" and other regional newspapers. Cahoon holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Brigham Young University.

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