Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA Voluntary Partner Reduces Lead use by 85,000 Pounds

Release Date: 08/12/2009
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 or

PHILADELPHIA (August 12, 2009) -- Aetna Insulated Wire, Inc., of Virginia Beach, Va., has reduced the use of lead in its products by 85,000 pounds during the period 2006 - 2008. The reduction was reached as a partner in the U.S. EPA’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP)

EPA’s NPEP program is voluntary and encourages public and private organizations to form partnerships with EPA and to commit to either reuse, or reducing the use or release of any of 31 priority chemicals. Aetna Insulated Wire, Inc. enrolled in the NPEP program in 2006.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was used in some of the company’s products as an insulation and mainly as protective coating. But the PVC contained lead as a heat stabilizer. Aetna wanted to offer a less toxic alternative product line while remaining competitive in the marketplace. Aetna’s plan was to offer lead-free PVC alternatives to customers through the use of flexible vinyl formulations that contained heat stabilizers other than lead.

Lead, a toxic metal, is identified by EPA as a priority chemical, and can be emitted into the air from motor vehicles and industrial sources. Lead that is improperly disposed of can leach into soil and groundwater and may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk.

Aetna faced some challenges in implementing its plan. First, the company had to convince its customers that they were purchasing an equivalent or superior alternative to the product which contained lead. Second, they needed to have their alternative products tested and qualified by two major certification bodies, Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. and the Canadian Standards Association. This step helped to reassure customers of the safety and usability of the lead-free product.

In 2006 the total lead contained in Aetna Insulated Wire, Inc.’s products was estimated at 135,859 pounds. In 2008 the total lead used in the company’s products was reduced to 50,715 pounds.

Projects such as this encourage innovation, improve efficiencies, save money and increase profit potential for customers and industry while at the same time reducing pollution.

Aetna Insulated Wire, Inc. has been in operation for more than 70 years manufacturing specialty cable and building wire for electrical distributors.

For more information on EPA’s NPEP program go to: