BS7272 is the International Standard for Pen Caps and End Closures of Writing and Marking instruments, and is the only published safety standard for end closures. The first standard concerning the “Safety of End Closures” was published by the B.S.I in September 2000. It was revised in April 2008 and is applicable from 30th September 2009.
You might ask as a Promotional Pens supplier whether it is necessary to prepare an International Standard for something so seemingly benign as a pen cap, but, too many people have choked on pen caps and end plugs, so it makes sense to define specific requirements that will enable people to keep on breathing, if by some misfortune, they accidentally inhale one.
Most manufacturers of Promotional Pens and other marking instruments are responsible producers and do comply with the standard, but there are of course suppliers from outside Western Europe who may not even be aware of the existence of this standard. There are eight sections in the standard that Importers of Writing Instruments need to be familiar with to ensure compliance. Five of the requirements carry equal status and Pen Caps/End Closures must conform to at least one of these, i.e size, security, inaccessibility, minimal protrusion or airflow.
- An end closure shall not pass through a 16mm diameter ring under its own weight.
- The end closure shall not be removed when subjected to a force of 50 Newtons
- When the end closure is a plug, it must be recessed and capable of withstanding a force of 10 Newtons.
- The grippable surface of a plug shall not extend beyond 1mm beyond the end of the writing instrument and overall length must not extend more than 3mms
- An end closure must permit airflow of 8 Litres per minute at room temperature under a pressure of 1.33Kilo Pascals.
There are two other requirements, i.e when the writing instrument has a cap, and its length is greater than its diameter, it shall meet both requirements of security and airflow. Finally, the manufacturer’s name must be clearly identifiable on the product or its packaging/documentation.
So, what is a force of 10 Newtons in a meaningful context? A Newton is defined as the force applied by gravity on an object about the size of an apple weighing typically 100 gms and a Kilopascal is approximately 1% of atmospheric pressure.
- The above standards might sound complicated but they are in reality applied common sense.
- A 16mm plug is not sufficient to completely block your windpipe.
- An end cap or plug must be very difficult to pull out.
- If you do happen to get one wedged in your windpipe, sufficient air must be able to pass to continue breathing.
For suppliers of promotional pens and writing instruments in general, this standard might seem unnecessary and difficult to understand but BS7272 uses basic science to turn physiology into figures and this will ultimately save lives. So, it makes good sense to check with your Promotional Pen suppliers that they comply with the standard.