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Subject: Dioxin


From: Jane Cullinane <jcullinane>
Date: Monday, December 17, 2001
In October (Conservation DistList Instance: 15:28 Tuesday, October
2, 2001), I asked the DistList: Can the environmentalist's goal to
encourage purchase of TCF (Totally Chlorine Free) paper be joined
with the librarian's and archivist's goal to use permanent paper? I
received several replies and I want to share my report on the topic.

A citizen called the Connecticut State Library to discuss his
interest in legislation that would require the State to purchase
paper that is made without the use of chlorine. His concern was not
that he would be made ill by touching paper made this way but that
the waste water from chlorine processes puts dioxin into our streams
and lakes. It gets into the food chain and becomes a health hazard.
He asked me if his proposal would contradict our requirements for
permanent paper.

After much research, I conclude that his wish for chlorine-free
paper and the State Library's wish for permanent paper cannot be
joined. I am inclined to believe the environmentalists when they say
the current production methods release dangerous chemicals but the
Environmental Protection Agency disagrees. Nor could I find a paper
on both their list of acceptable papers and the list of papers that
meet the permanence standard.

A report from the Abbey Newsletter in Oct. 1994
<URL:> was encouraging
that chlorine free processes would become available and, if done,
properly, would produce paper that met the permanence standard.
However, this does not seem to have happened. A report published in
1995 and written by the Librarian of Congress, the Acting Archivist
of the United States and the Public Printer says this: "... in the
absence of research that provides other options, fully bleached pulp
is a necessary component of permanent paper at this time. Bleaching
removes the lignin from the pulp, which is necessary for permanence
because lignin-containing papers have been shown to darken with age
and light exposure. Librarians, archivists, and records managers are
concerned that such discoloration could impede future reformatting
procedures. Thus, the requirement that permanent paper be fully
bleached cannot be eliminated because it is directly related to its
long-term performance."

In emails on Oct. 3, and Nov. 30, 2001, Bruce Arnold, Chair of the
ASTM Paper Aging Research Program, who also previously worked for
many years for a paper manufacturer, told me that recent ASTM
research shows that lignin does not lessen the strength of alkaline
paper but "[chlorine-free] bleaching produces pulp of lower strength
than is produced by ... sequences [that use chlorine dioxide].  As
much as 10% of the tensile strength is lost when a comparison
between the two sequences is made." The chlorine dioxide sequence
meets the Environmental Protection Agency's rules on dioxin
production. The environmentalists prefer the chlorine free sequence.

To determine if a paper is acceptable, I rely on Ellen McCrady's
list of North American Permanent Papers
<URL:>. Several of
the environmentalist web sites list papers that meet their
requirements. The most complete seemed to be by Conservatree
<URL:> I compared
the lists but found no paper on both lists.

It took decades of effort to achieve both the permanent paper
standard and the legislation that requires governments to use
permanent paper. In addition, the impact on our collections of books
and documents made from deteriorating paper has been well
documented. I cannot recommend at this time that the State Library
support a bill to require chlorine-free paper in state publications.

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 15:43
                 Distributed: Monday, December 17, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-43-002
Received on Monday, 17 December, 2001

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