Heavy metal content of newspapers: longitudinal trends

P. Tucker, P. Douglas, A. Durrant, A.S. Hursthouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Examines whether there are any environmental or health implications associated with the increased use of colour in newspapers, if the newspapers are reused or recycled. New heavy metal analyses of UK daily newspapers from 1992, 1996 and 1998 are reported. Lead, mercury and cadmium were found to be below their measurement detection limits (4ppm, 5ppm and 1ppm respectively) in nearly all samples. Barium and total chromium levels were highest in supplements printed on “glossy” paper. Copper was present at levels around 20‐30ppm in the standard newsprint sections and at levels of 80ppm or more in the supplements. Copper concentrations increased by 33‐40 per cent between 1992 and 1998 which correlated well with the increased colour content. A scientific appraisal and review showed that the heavy metal contents of newspapers are highly unlikely to pose any environmental risk or to have any health implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-66
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironmental Management and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • newspaper
  • heavy metals
  • copper
  • ink
  • colour


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