What it Means
A cased pencil that has met all requirements earns the seal of approval and is Certified non-toxic.
How It Works
Pencil makers who want their pencils to carry the PMA certified non-toxic seal must have materials submitted for review according to the safety standards established for the Certification Program. This includes the review of cores, slats, ferrules, erasers and lacquers to make sure they contain only non-toxic substances.
It's not easy for a pencil to earn the PMA seal of approval! All of the parts of the pencil must be individually reviewed for toxicity. Then, once a pencil is assembled, they are randomly tested again to ensure that PMA approved pencils are non-toxic, from immediate and long-term health points of view. Any time a material in a pencil is changed and a non-approved ingredient is used, the entire approval process must be repeated.
Dr. Woodhall Stopford, a renowned toxicologist from the Duke University Occupational Health Department, serves as the PMA medical advisor. Materials cannot be used in PMA approved pencils unless they meet very strict requirements.
Pencil Lead Is Not Made Of Lead!
Although lead was used to make marks during the Middle Ages, the black "cores" used in our pencils today are actually a combination of graphite and clay. Graphite, a form of carbon, was originally called "plumbago" from the Latin word meaning "that which acts like lead;" thus, the misconception. The modern pencil contains a mixture of graphite and clay in different proportions to achieve the desired writing hardness.
Safe Materials Only
The PMA Certification Program ensures that only pencils manufactured from materials that are free from toxins and do not cause harmful effects if chewed receive the seal of approval.
The PMA Certification Seal
The PMA Certification Seal ensures that the products displaying the seal are non-toxic from immediate and long-term health points of view. Manufacturers licensed to display the seal on their products or packages must renew their licenses each year.
The PMA Certification Seal was developed to assist consumers, retailers and wholesalers identify those products that underwent a voluntary product safety program initiated by PMA in 1971. Program membership is available to any manufacturer of cased pencils in the world.
PMA's leadership efforts are among a growing movement within industry and Government to require labeling and the banning of potential health hazards, especially to young children.
Consumers, retailers and wholesalers can be assured that the pencils they use, buy and sell are safe and non-toxic by buying from pencil manufacturers who are a part of the PMA program.