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Subject: Dioxin


From: Jane Cullinane <jcullinane>
Date: Monday, October 1, 2001
Here at the Connecticut State Library I recently received a call
from a citizen who is concerned about the dioxins that are a
by-product of paper made from pulp bleached with chlorine. Dioxins
are a known carcinogen and the citizen is working with his state
representative to draft legislation requiring state agencies to
purchase paper which is Totally Chlorine Free (TCF). He called me to
be reassured that the proposed legislation would not contradict the
existing legislation regarding permanent paper.

The topic is new to me so I started doing some research. I have
learned a lot but still don't have an answer to the question: Can
the environmentalist's goal to encourage purchase of TCF paper be
joined with the librarian's and archivist's goal to use permanent
paper? A report from 1996 (1) says no: chlorine whitens the pulp and
removes most of the rest of the lignin. Lignin, will cause yellowing
even in papers with an alkaline reserve.

But is there anything more recent on this issue? Since the early
1990s pulp manufacturers have been switching from a process that
uses chlorine gas, which does put dioxins into the environment, to a
process that uses chlorine dioxide (the process is called Elemental
Chlorine Free or ECF), which meets the EPA requirements and produces
dioxins at the "non-detect" level. Environmentalists say that no
amount of dioxins is acceptable and are encouraging the purchase of
paper which is TCF.

I've already checked CoOL <URL:> for
more information. I found a number of articles in the Alkaline paper
advocate and Abbey Newsletter
<URL:> as well as the web
sites for an environmental group working to create this legislation
(Chlorine Free Products Association

Perhaps you can help me provide the correct answer. Have you seen
any recent information on the use of TCF paper and whether this
paper meets the permanence standard? Any help you can give to point
me toward some reference sources will be most appreciated. If you
wish to respond to me off list, later on I will summarize the
responses for the list.

(1) "Final Report to Congress on the Joint Resolution to Establish a
    National Policy on Permanent Papers Part 2".
    from: Abbey Newsletter Vol. 20, No. 7 (Dec. 1996)

    **** Moderator's comments: The above URL has been wrapped for
    email. There should be no newline.

Jane F. Cullinane
Preservation Librarian, Collection Management Unit
Connecticut State Library
231 Capitol Ave.
Hartford CT 06106-1537
Fax: 860-757-6559

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:28
                 Distributed: Tuesday, October 2, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-28-009
Received on Monday, 1 October, 2001

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