Plastisol is a PVC powder dispersed into a plasticiser. When heated the PVC absorbs the plasticiser, becomes plastic and fuses. As opposed Waterbased dye printing such as our tea towel prints, Plastisol is made up of particles suspended in a liquid plasticiser, traditionally this has meant Phthalates and PVC. The vast majority of inks we use are actually PLASTISOL-LIKE as they are PVC Free as well as being Phthalate Free.
What are Phthalates
Simply put they are a family of Chemicals, they are used to soften, bind and make plastics more durable along with various other uses in cooking oils and cosmetics. BBP, DBP, DEHP along with DiDP, DINP, and DnOP are banned in toys for young children and have been linked to reproductive issues and cancer in animal testing. They also appear in dyes and cosmetics
Phthalate and PVC Free Ink
PVC plastisol inks are very similar to PVC inks. The quality is very similar. They typically use different plastic such as acrylic which is a much safer plastic.
If you are looking into friendlier inks, please note not all Phthalate free ink is PVC Free, though generally speaking without PVC there is little to no need for Phthalate in ink so most PVC ink is also Phthalate Free.
Outside of dye printing, which we only do onto light colours as printing onto dark colours requires “discharge ink” essentially a bleach, we use Rutland PVC and Phthalate free ink where possible* We have yet to make the jump to 100% water-based printing due to the nature and amount of various chemical “additives” required for this printing which does offset a lot of the benefits.
Where to get PVC and Phthalate Free Inks
Most Suppliers either have a range or have moved entirely from Phthalate inks, or at very least have removed banned Phthalates from their mixes. As various countries have different laws, these manufacturers do try to comply with all at once. PVC Free narrows your supply down.
RUTLAND – WILFLEX – UNION INK
For plastisol-like inks you can find distributors in your country at:
For plastisol-like and waterbased inks you can find distributors in your country at:
For plastisol-like and water-based inks you can find distributors in your country at:
For water-based inks you can find distributors in your country at:
For more complicated waterbased inks that require additives (with great eco credentials for the inks themselves) you can check out Virus Inks, Magna Colours, or One Strokes Soymax
*Current supply issues has meant we have had to use a lot more “Compliant” Inks as opposed to those fully free of these chemicals.