Lithographic Printers

Picture of lithographic printing machine.

Lithography is a form of printing that employs planographic plates,in which the images are neither raised in relief nor depressed. Instead,the flow of ink is controlled by coatings on the plate with different physicochemical properties. Lithography is the predominant printing process in the United States and accounts for approximately 50 percent of all printing applications. Sheet-fed lithography is used for printing books,posters,greeting cards,labels,packaging,advertising flyers,brochures,periodicals,and for reproducing artwork. Web offset lithography is used for periodicals, newspapers, advertising, books, catalogs, and business forms.

The lithographic printing industry operates processes that emit air contaminants. Printing presses, photographic film processors and cleaning operations all have the potential to emit air contaminants. Although these processes may not directly discharge contaminants to the outer air, they do release air contaminants that eventually escape the building and enter the atmosphere.

The indirect or direct release of these air contaminants into the outer air is regulated under federal and state statutes and rules. The purpose of these requirements is to minimize the adverse impact the air contaminants have on human health and the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the responsibility for developing new regulations that implement mandates of the federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Federal air quality regulations are published under Title 40, Parts 50 through 99 of the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR Parts 50-99).

Requirements for the lithographic printing industry are monitored and enforced by each District Office of the Air Quality Division, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.


Calculation and Exemption Recordkeeping Forms

VOC Emission Calculation Sheet for Lithographic Printers (October 2002) - Lithographic printing facilities can use this form to calculate volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from inks and other materials, such as fountain solutions and cleaning solvents.

HAP Emission Calculation Sheet for Lithographic Printers (October 2002) - Use this form to calculate hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from lithographic printing operations.

Permit to Install Exemption Record for Lithographic Printers (September 2007) - Lithographic printers using only non-carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOC) can use this form to determine if an air use permit is required. This form uses assumptions from the US EPA Control Techniques Guidelines for Offset Lithographic Printing to provide an easy monthly VOC emission estimation.


For More Information or Additional Assistance, contact the
Environmental Assistance Program at 800-662-9278


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