The Industry Initiative’s Criteria

The companies’ declared objective is to make a decisive contribution to reducing emissions in Germany’s offset printing industry. On 15.03.1995 at a meeting with the ETEM Berufsgenossenschaft or ‘BG’ (German institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention), formerly known as Druck und Papierverarbeitung, the following agreement was concluded:


Only cleaning agents that meet the following criteria shall be submitted for technical approval for use with a specific printing machine configuration.


Principle:  The participating companies shall submit products to BG ETEM (formerly Druck und Papierverarbeitung) prior to their technical appraisal (by a recognized testing institution, e.g. FOGRA).


In accordance with the latest findings in the field of safety, the following criteria shall apply. Recommendations for approval testing of cleaning agents for new printing machines (manufactured after 10.05.1995) in the offset printing sector:


Flash point:                              above 55°C

Benzene:                                  less than 0.1%

Toluene and Xylene                  less than 1%

Aromatic compounds (≥ C₉)     less than 1%


Substances which must not be contained:

  • Halogenated hydrocarbons
  • Terpenes
  • n-Hexane
  • Secondary amines and amides
  • Nonylphenols
  • N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP)
  • 2-Butoxyethanol


Substances which, when used, represent an unacceptable health risk according to the current state of knowledge in the field of occupational medicine and toxicology (an expert working-group at BG ETEM is currently investigating this issue).

Industry Initiative Criteria


Criteria or Hazardous SubstanceHealth GroundsTechnical Grounds
Flash point in excess of 55°C Low evaporation rate, therfore lower contamination of the air. No particular explosion protection measures necessary; lower consumption;


Content less than 0.1%
Can cause cancer. Aromatic compounds can cause damage to seals and roller or blanket materials.
Toluene and Xylol content less than 1% AGW 1⁾  50 and 100 ppm

Aromatic compounds:


Content (≥C₉)

less than 1%

hazardous substances:


low AGW 1⁾ values

Substances which the cleaning agents must not contain:

Halogenated hydrocarbons Neurotoxic; ozone-depleting substances C cause shrinkage or swelling of blankets
Terpenes Sensitizing; can cause skin irritation Can damage various materials in the printing machine
n-Hexane Neurotoxic; AGW 1⁾ 50 ppm Very low flash point (-22°C); other hydrocarbon-based washing agents can be used
Secondary amines and amides Possible formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines under certain conditions Corrosion of brass. Other anticorrosive agents are available
Nonylphenole and its derivates Reprotoxic Substitutes available: e.g. Sorbitan laurate as an emulsifier
N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP)

Reprotoxic, easily absorbed through the skin,

corrosive/irritant to skin; AGW 1⁾ (steam) 20 ppm
2-Butoxyethanol AGW 1⁾ 10 ppm since January 2012; on the basis of toxicological data and GHS classification criteria: “Toxic in contact with skin or if inhaled”; high vapour pressure
Substances which, when used, represent unacceptable health risks according to current knowledge in the field of occupational medicine and toxicology.

1⁾AGW Arbeitsplatzgrenzwert nach der Technischen Regel für Gefahrstoffe (TRGS) 900
Threshold limit value at the workplace according to the German Technical Regulations for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) 900


Dr. Nadine Metz

printing and paper processing