Would you ever think that a greeting card could be hazardous to your health? If you said no, then think again. Many greeting cards are printed with petroleum-based inks, which emit high amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. These VOCs contribute to the development of ground level ozone, which is a leading factor in the formation of smog.
Smog can have many negative effects on the respiratory system. It reduces lung function, making it difficult to breathe and causes wheezing, coughing, and pain when inhaling deeply. The ozone present in smog can inflame and damage the lining of the lungs, and some studies suggest that ozone reduces the immune system's ability to fight off bacterial infections in the respiratory system.
Smog is more prevalent during periods of warmer weather, which will likely become a much graver issue with the rapid onset of global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that global surface temperatures are likely to increase by 2 to 11.5°F between 1990 and 2100. This increase in temperature will pose greater smog risks for cities like Los Angeles, which ranked as the most polluted city in the country by the American Lung Association in 2006.
But there is a clearing along the horizon. Some greeting card companies are substituting petroleum-based inks for vegetable-based inks, which significantly reduce the amount of VOCs released during printing. All of The Gallery Collection's business Christmas cards, personalized Christmas cards, birthday cards, all-occasion greetings cards, and photo cards are printed with linseed and soy oil-based inks, which emit extremely low amounts of VOCs.
Printing with vegetable-based inks is a part of The Gallery Collection's larger effort in making environmentally-conscious decisions. We offer a line of windpower Christmas cards and windpower all-occasion cards. Additionally, all of our envelopes are entirely produced with windpower energy, and they are also made from recycled waste.
For more environmental information on the printing industry, please visit the Printers' National Environmental Assistance Center.