Links to previous exemption language updates:


Summary of Exemptions with TPCH (updated August 2022)

The only broad exemptions available regarding intentional use of the four restricted metals of cadmium, lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium, are for packages for which one of the following is true:

  • use of the metal(s) is necessary to comply with state or federal health or safety requirements
  • there is no feasible alternative to use of the metal(s) for protection, safe handling, or function of the contents of the package, not including a marketing function.


If a package or component qualifies for either of these exemption categories, a manufacturer must apply to a state for an exemption and include documentation showing that the criteria for an exemption are met. Exemptions granted by the states may be renewed upon reapplication every two years.

The only Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse member state with a current active exemption for the four heavy metals (not PFAS and ortho-phthalates) due to post-consumer recycled content is New Hampshire. New Hampshire has a higher limit of 200 ppm for the total concentration of the four metals due to post-consumer content.  There is no request/approval process for this limit.  Please contact the state of New Hampshire for more details.

All other member and non-member states have a limit of 100 ppm total concentration of the four metals due to post-consumer recycled content.

The information provided here does not cover state laws governing or addressing PFAS in food packaging.

*To review exemptions that were historically provided, but are no longer in effect, see above links to previous model legislation updates.


Cleaner Packaging, Cleaner World