Ole Oleson, Danish Grand Old Man of fine bookbinding, wrote a letter to the editor of Designer Bookbinders Newsletter, Winter 1990, complaining that the gilt edges he has put on books the last few years have turned dark like unpolished brass and "bubbled up." He uses 22 carat gold leaf. Not all books have reacted like this, but some of the ones that have are very important books: gifts to the Queen, and so on. He says the affected books are on "coated paper of the type Uno." The papermakers are looking into it. They say their paper contains none of the chemicals known to affect gold: potassium cyanide, hydrochloric acid. nitric acid and mercury.
In the April 1990 Svensk Papperstidningen, an article in Swedish by Teder, Tormund and Ulmgren describes the research by STFI, the Swedish paper research institute, on the causes and cure of the odorous sulfur compounds emitted by kraft pulp mills. A combination of methods, such as combustion, absorption in alkaline solution and absorption with polysulfide solution, could be used. Methods of eliminating methyl mercaptan (perhaps the worst smell of all) are described. The alternative to using these methods is to switch to another pulping method.
The Committee, which was formed two years ago, had a productive meeting with about a dozen members present. Two subcommittees were formed, one to coordinate the Committee with a new joint task group to produce a troubleshooting guide for printing and imaging on alkaline paper, and one to nominate candidates for TAPPI awards for early work related to alkaline sizing. Reports were heard an Library of Congress research on lignin (even 1% was found to affect permanence) and the work of the permanence standards committees in ISO, ASTM and NISO. Members agreed to meet only twice a year: at Papermakers in the spring, and with ASTM D-6 in the fall. They also decided to include all permanent papers within the scope of the Committee, whether they were alkaline or not.