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A Guide to Adhesive, Rubber, and Plastic Testing

Rubber, adhesive, and plastic products are widely used in various industries, from construction and automotive to healthcare and electronics. However, these materials may contain harmful chemicals that can pose health and environmental risks if not properly tested and regulated. That’s why adhesive, rubber, and plastic testing are crucial to ensuring safety and compliance with regulations.

Chemical Composition for Rubber, Adhesives, and Plastic Testing

Rubber testing

First, plastics, rubber, and adhesives are made from a wide range of chemical compounds, each with its unique properties and characteristics. These materials are often composed of polymers, which are long chains of repeating units called monomers. For example:

  • Polyethylene, a common plastic used in packaging, is made up of repeating ethylene monomers.
  • Polystyrene, another common plastic used in food packaging, is made up of repeating styrene monomers.

Natural rubber, on the other hand, is composed of repeating isoprene monomers.

In addition to polymers, plastics, rubber, and adhesives may also contain various additives, such as plasticizers, stabilizers, and flame retardants. These additives can improve the properties of the materials, such as flexibility, durability, and resistance to heat and UV light.

However, some additives may also contain hazardous chemicals, such as:

  • Phthalates
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Formaldehyde


Exposure to these chemicals can pose health risks to humans and the environment, especially if the materials are not properly tested and regulated.

Polymer testing

List of Plastics Used in Electronics

Furthermore, plastics are widely used in electronic devices due to their durability, flexibility, and insulating properties. Here are some examples of plastics commonly used in electronics and their main uses:



Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

  • Computer keyboards
  • Printer housings
  • Power tool casings

Polycarbonate (PC)

  • Smartphone cases
  • Laptop shells
  • LED light covers

Polyethylene (PE)

  • Cable insulation
  • Battery casings
  • Thermal insulation

Polypropylene (PP)

  • Battery casings
  • Speaker housings
  • DVD cases

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

  • Wire insulation
  •  Cable sheathing
  • Computer mouse cords

Plastic Testing Methods

First, adhesives and plastics also require chemical testing to ensure safety and compliance with regulations.

In fact, adhesives may contain harmful chemicals such as benzene, toluene, and xylene, which can cause cancer and other health problems.

By contrast, plastic products may contain bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and flame retardants that can harm human health and the environment.

Therefore, chemical testing methods for adhesives and plastics include:

  • Gas chromatography (GC)
  • Liquid chromatography (LC)
  • Mass spectrometry (MS)

Moreover, rubber is a versatile material used in a variety of products, from tires and hoses to seals and gaskets. However, rubber products may contain hazardous chemicals that can harm human health and the environment. Rubber testing involves chemical analysis to identify and quantify the chemicals in the product.

Thus, rubber testing methods include:

  • Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • Inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES).

These methods can detect a wide range of chemical compounds, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metal chemicals, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), and phthalates.

Plastic testing

Benefits of Adhesive, Rubber, and Plastic Testing

The benefits of adhesive, rubber, and plastic Testing are numerous.

  1. Chemical testing ensures that products are safe for human use and the environment.
  2. It helps manufacturers comply with regulations and avoid legal and financial consequences.
  3. It can help identify potential hazards in the production process, leading to improved safety and efficiency.

How to Conduct Adhesive, Rubber, and Plastic Testing?

Monitor product environmental regulation

1. Determine whether your Product is Subject to which Environmental Regulations.

To conduct chemical testing, you should first determine whether your product is subject to any environmental regulations related to chemical substances. Common examples of tested environmental regulations are explained below.

  • Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
    RoHS regulates the use of hazardous substances in electronic and electrical equipment. Testing for RoHS compliance may include analyzing materials for the presence of heavy metal chemicals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, as well as other restricted substances.
  • Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (EU REACH)
    REACH is a regulation that aims to protect human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals. Testing for REACH compliance may include identifying and quantifying substances of very high concern (SVHC) in products, and restricted REACH Annex XVII chemicals as well as assessing the potential risks associated with their use. Furthermore, declared SVHCs should be notified to consumers using the SCIP database.
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP)
    POPs are toxic chemicals that persist in the environment and can bioaccumulate in the food chain. Testing for POPs may include analyzing samples for the presence of chemicals such as PCBs, dioxins, and furans.
  • California Proposition 65 (Prop.65)
    Prop. 65 requires businesses to provide warning labels for products that contain chemicals known to cause cancer, congenital abnormalities, or reproductive harm. Testing for Prop. 65 compliance may include analyzing products for the presence of substances such as lead, arsenic, and phthalates.
  • Toxic Substances Control Act – Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (TSCA-PBT)
    TSCA regulates the manufacture, import, and processing of chemicals in the United States. Testing for TSCA-PBT compliance may include evaluating the persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity of chemicals, as well as assessing their potential risks to human health and the environment.
  • Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Requirements
    PFAS are a group of chemicals used in a wide range of products, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and firefighting foams. Testing for PFAS may include analyzing samples for the presence of specific compounds, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which are known to be persistent and harmful to human health and the environment.
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Requirements for Rubber, Adhesive, and Plastic Products
    Moreover, products intended for use in food or medical applications must comply with FDA requirements for safety and effectiveness. Rubber, adhesive, and plastic products used in these applications must undergo rigorous testing to ensure that they meet FDA standards. This testing may include biocompatibility testing, toxicity testing, and sterility testing, among others.


TSCA Reform

2. Identify the Specific Chemicals in your Product that Need to be Tested.

For instance, you can review your product’s composition and ingredients list. Alternatively, you can base yourself on commonly used chemicals in similar products.

Plastics testing lab

3. Choose a Laboratory that Specializes in Adhesive, Rubber, or Plastic Testing.

A good laboratory will have the necessary certifications and equipment to conduct proper chemistry testing. For instance, a laboratory with an ISO 17025 certification is a good sign for quality results.

Don’t know where to start? Enviropass can provide you with access to an ISO-17025-certified laboratory with trailblazing technology.

Plastic Testing - Chemical analysis

4. Provide the Laboratory with Samples of your Rubber, Adhesive, and Plastic Products

The quantity and details of the sample provided will depend on the chemical analysis conducted. However, you may consider sending any necessary product information as well.

RoHS testing lab

5. The Laboratory Will Conduct Plastic Testing on your Products.

The laboratory will use analytical methods to determine the concentration of the specified chemicals in your products.

SVHCs Certificate of Compliance

6. A Testing Report Will Be Generated.

Once testing is complete, the results will be assessed to determine whether the rubber and plastic products comply with environmental regulations. This will be summarized in a testing report.

Examples of Regulated VOCs in Rubber, Adhesives, and Plastics

Additionally, VOCs are chemicals that can evaporate at room temperature, causing indoor air pollution and posing health risks to humans and the environment. Rubber, adhesives, and plastics are common sources of VOCs, and as such, many VOCs are regulated to protect public health and the environment.

Examples of regulated VOCs in rubber, adhesives, and plastics include:

  • Benzene
  • Toluene
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Xylene


These chemicals can cause respiratory problems, headaches, nausea, and other health problems. To minimize the risk of VOC exposure, manufacturers must comply with regulations and limit the number of VOCs in their products.

Overview of Environmental Regulations

The following table highlights some commonly found chemicals in rubber, adhesives, and plastics:





Bisphenol A (BPA)




  • Can interfere with hormones.
  • Increase the risk of reproductive and developmental problems.

Plasticizer to increase flexibility in rubbers and plastics


RoHS, EU REACH, Prop.65

  • Can cause kidney damage.
  • Increase the risk of certain cancers.

Stabilizer in rubber and plastics.


EU REACH, Prop.65

  • Can cause respiratory and skin irritation.
  • Increase the risk of certain cancers.

Disinfectants or preservatives in plastic and rubber products


RoHS, EU REACH, Prop.65

  • Can cause damage to the nervous system, reproductive system, and red blood cells.
  • Increase the risk of certain cancers.

Stabilizer in rubber and plastics.


EU REACH, Prop.65

  • Can interfere with hormones.
  • Increase the risk of reproductive and developmental problems.

Plasticizers are added to plastics (particularly PVC) and rubber to increase flexibility and durability. For example:

Rubber in the following products:

  • Gloves
  • Toys
  • Shoes

Plastics in the following products:

  • Floor tiles
  • Packaging
  • Wires

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as Benzene, Formaldehyde, Toluene, and Xylene

EU REACH, Prop.65

  • Can evaporate and cause air pollution.
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.

Emitted from many rubbers and plastics.

PFAS such as PFOA and PFOS


PFAS Requirements including Maine

  • Some PFAS have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, developmental delays in children, and other health problems.
  • PFAS are persistent in the environment, meaning they do not break down easily and can accumulate in the food chain.
  • Water- and stain-resistant.
  • Effective at extinguishing fuel fires.

Consequences of Non-Compliance with Environmental Regulations

Finally, non-compliance with regulations can have serious consequences, both for the manufacturer and the end user.

  • Firstly, it can result in legal and financial penalties, including fines and product recalls.
  • Secondly, it can damage the manufacturer’s reputation and lead to a loss of consumer trust.
  • Thirdly, it can put the end-user at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals, leading to health problems and environmental damage.
POP enforcement violations

Want to know the best compliance strategy for your products? Contact Enviropass today for a free consultation and see how our team can best serve your specific needs.