Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 1, Number 3
Oct 1994



Measurement of the Concentration of Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxides, and Ozone in the National Archives Building, by E.E. Hughes and R. Myers. Gas and Particulate Science Division, National Bureau of Standards, 1983. 23 pp. NBSIR 83-2767. Available from NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161, for $7.00.

This is an old study, but relevant to current concern about the effect of pollutants on paper that contains both lignin and calcium carbonate. Measurements were made at different stack locations in the National Archives and in single locations in the Library of Congress's Madison Building and the National Gallery's East Wing. The newer ventilating systems of the Madison Building and the East Wing were effective in removing sulfur dioxide but not the oxides of nitrogen. (2C1.1)


Air Quality Criteria for Storage of Paper-Based Archival Records, by Robert G. Mathey, Thomas K. Faison, and Samuel Silberstein, Center for Building Technology, National Bureau of Standards. Nov. 1983. 60 pp. NBSIR 83-2795. Available for $10 from NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161. This too is an old study, newly made relevant. It reviews what was known at the time about the effect of temperature, relative humidity, and gaseous and particulate pollution on paper-based archival records, and recommends criteria for controlling those effects. (2C1.1)


The Characterization of Microenvironments and the Degradation of Archival Records: A Research Program, by Elio Passaglia, Polymers Division, National Bureau of Standards. October 1987. 127 pages. NBSIR 87-3635. $18.95, presumably available from NBS (now NIST).

Most records in archives are stored in containers, which means that the microenvironment inside the container is more significant than the environment in the room. This report presents a model (with a lot of mathematics) of the environment inside a container and the way it changes as the room environment changes, and lays out a research program that could be based on it. There is a 73-item bibliography on the effect of heat, moisture and pollution, and on related matters such as diffusion and transport.

Passaglia summarized this research at the National Archives' Third Annual Preservation Conference, which was called "Microenvironmental Research and New Directions in the Care of Collections," in April 1988. His presentation was published with the same title in Restaurator, v.10, no. 3/4, 1989, p. 123-150, with numerous graphs, drawings and equations, and a shorter bibliography. He concludes (among other things) that if there are gaps in the enclosure, the inside environment will be essentially the same as the outside environment; that reactive contents will purify the air inside by reacting with pollutants inside the enclosure; that these same materials may also give off degradation products that catalyze further degradation (i.e., generate their own pollution); that an ideal container wall would react with both pollutants and paper degradation products; and that all the mathematical models he presents should be subjected to experimental verification. No research is known to have been done relating to the last recommendation since this was written. (2C2.5)


Government Paper Specification Standards, No. 10. Joint Committee on Printing, 1994. This compilation, containing 96 standards, supersedes No. 9, which was published in 1981. All government paper must be purchased by these standards.

Where practicable, JCP Chairman Wendell Ford says in his letter of transmission, the standards now meet or exceed the postconsumer content requirements in the President's Executive Order of October 1993.

He says that five of them are permanent paper specifications, but in fact, only one is unequivocably permanent by the ANSI/NISO standard: JCP A270, "Uncoated Permanent Book, White and Cream White." The other four contain a "permanence option" with specs for alkalinity (pH 7.5 minimum), 2% calcium carbonate, and a tearing strength comparable to the ANSI/NISO spec. This allows the agencies to order permanent paper if they want to. They couldn't do this before. They often used to get alkaline paper anyhow, because the old government standards never put a ceiling on pH, and if the paper qualified in other respects, it was shipped; but the agency could not specify it.

Fifteen other standards include an "alkaline option."

By far the most popular kind of paper in the government, and the one used for many records that wind up in the National Archives, is copy paper. There are four standards for copy paper, one of which, JCP O-60, includes the permanence option. It covers white, natural and colored copy paper; the natural copy paper may contain up to 50% groundwood. The second one, O-61, is for high quality laser printer paper, and the other two, O-65 and O-70, are "Recycled Plain Copier" and "100 pct Recycled Plain Copier." The President is said to use O-70, which (it says right at the top) is "for products of a non-permanent nature." (3A9.5)


1991 European Directory of Acid-Free and Permanent Book Paper, 2nd ed., edited by Marc Walckiers, EFLC Secretary, and published by LIBRIME 17, Chemin des Vieux Amis, B-1380 Lasne-Bruxelles (tel. 32/2/633.43.11, fax 32/2/633.54.28) on request of the European Foundation for Library Cooperation/Groupe de Lausanne. Brussels, June 1994. 28 pp. No price listed; inquire.

Only one-tenth of the 225 book paper manufacturers contacted sent in samples and specifications. Still, almost 100 book papers that meet the ISO or the ANSI/NISO standard for permanence are listed. Some of the manufacturers submitted samples and test data for recycled paper, but none of them quite met either permanence standard, so there are no recycled papers in this list. (This is something of a mystery, because so many of the American papers were reported to be recycled as well as permanent, when their producers were surveyed for the North American Permanent Papers booklet.)

A great deal of information is given for each paper: manufacturer, brand name, standard to which it conforms, coated vs. uncoated, range of substances (weights), colors, and miscellaneous useful characteristics. This edition was published with funding from the manufacturers whose papers are listed.

Since the purpose of the booklet is to encourage publishers to use permanent paper, EFLC wanted to know how many publishers were already doing so. EFLC worked with Swets & Zeitlinger last year to survey them. Of the 142 who replied, two-thirds were not aware of standards for permanent paper, but 48% said they printed their publications on permanent paper. The main reason given for not using permanent paper is the lack of demand, especially from libraries. (3A9.9)


"The Effect of Atmospheric Pollutants on Paper Permanence: A Literature Review," by Norayr Gurnagul and Xeujun Zou. Tappi Journal v.77, no. 7, July 1994, p. 199-204. The English-language research on SO2, nitrogen oxides and ozone, and their effect on paper, is reviewed, especially with respect to groundwood paper. Although sulfur dioxide has been investigated since the 1930s, investigation into the role of nitrogen oxides, and especially of ozone, is just beginning. The authors note this. (A more technical commentary on this paper is being sought for publication in a subsequent issue of this Newsletter.) (3B1.23)


"Measuring Paper Fluorescence using UV-VIS Spectrometry," by M.J. Gomes Estella and M. del Garon Barnecilla. Invest. Tec. Pap. v.31, no. 119, Jan. 1994, pp. 106-115 (In Spanish)

A method for quantifying the intensity of the fluorescent emission of various types of paper is described. The abstract (PBA Abstract 2851, 1994) describes the steps involved and says the mathematics is simple. (3B1.4)


"The Aging Behavior of Part-Mechanical Printing and Writings made with CTMP," by Judith Stanley and Derek Priest. Pap. Technol. 35 #4, May 1994, pp. 30-36. The authors tested mechanical papers containing up to 50% chemithermomechanical pulp, and feel that "it would neither be realistic nor economic to exclude mechanical pulps altogether from grades intended for medium-term life," although they do not recommend them for long-term documents. (3B1.7)


"Environmental Concerns in the Selection of Deinking Chemicals," by C.L. Babb et al. Paper presented at the 1993 Pulping Conference, Atlanta, Nov. 1-3, 1993, Book 2, p. 757-765. (PBA Abstract 3405, 1994) Some deinking chemicals go out with the sludge, and some stay in the paper. Some are potentially hazardous, and are coming under stricter governmental regulation. The most important ones are hydrogen peroxide, chelating agents, sodium hydroxide, sodium silicate, lime, sulphuric acid, sulphur dioxide, surfactants and dispersants. (3B1.8)


"Temperature Effect on Paper Recycling," by M. Nazhad and L. Paszner. Progress in Paper Recycling v.3 no. 3 May 1994, p. 22-28. Drying, and heating after drying, weakened the paper and increased its brittleness. This effect should not be underestimated in studying the effect of recycling. Relevant literature is reviewed. (3B1.8)


"Variables Key in Success of Slitting Alkaline Papers," by R. Schable. Pap. Film Foil Converter, v.67, no. 11, Nov. 1993, p. 66, 68. Since the filler level for alkaline papers is easily twice as high as for the average clay-filled paper, converters' blades wear down more quickly. Calcium carbonate itself is not very abrasive, but it may be used with titanium dioxide, which is; and carbonate often includes abrasive impurities such as silicates. The author recommends measures to increase the life of the blades. (3B3.44)


"Recycling: A Legal Roundup," by Daniel E. Boxer, Esq. PIMA Magazine, January 1994, p. 27-29. The author summarizes regulations in the state and national arenas relating to recycling. He says that many state and local governments and private businesses are expected to follow the Executive Order on recycling in the Executive Branch. New York City issued a nearly identical edict, he says, only a week after President Clinton signed the federal order. (3B3.6)


"Industry Needs and Institution Research." Progress in Paper Recycling, Aug. 1994, p. 63-68. This article, part of an annual series, is headed "Industry-Institution Dialog." It describes ongoing student research in paper recycling, and summarizes research needs as reported in an industry survey. The six highest-ranked research topics were:

Restoring strength properties of recycled fibers

Efficient screens and cleaners

Deinking office papers

Bleaching and color stripping

Quality control of recovered papers

Fiber fractionation and various applications. (3B3.6)


Secondary Fiber Recycling. R.J. Spangenberg, ed. TAPPI Press, 1993. 268 pp.; alkaline paper. $78 for TAPPI members, $116 nonmembers. The review of this book in the August 1994 Tappi Journal, p. 287-288, says the book "tends to be overly critical of the characteristics of secondary fiber pulps and their use in paper products," and recommends that readers go by their own experience instead. However, some of this criticism relates to the ways in which recycled fiber might affect permanence, a topic on which there has been little or no research and no discussion in the paper literature until recently. Even if the criticism referred to is only a personal observation, it is better than nothing.

In Chapter 1, "Recovered Paper and the U.S. Solid Waste Dilemma," Rodney Young discusses the use of recovered paper in all sorts of paper produced. The cost has dropped dramatically in comparison with virgin fiber; capital costs of facilities for pulping recovered paper are lower; recovered paper pulping requires less energy; and many towns are setting up long-term contracts for collecting waste paper. This means (or meant in 1993, when this book was put together) that production of recycled paper will go up.

However, he says that printing and writing paper has not contained much recycled fiber in the past, because of concerns about strength, brightness and appearance. Before this picture can change substantially, either production methods will have to improve or customers' expectations will have to go down.

In Chapter 5, "Fiber Reactivity Versus Chemical Use," Jerome Gess discusses the use of chemicals to address problems that arise when large amounts of recycled fibers are used in the mill. These problems include particulate materials in the stock (e.g., pressure-sensitive adhesives); additives and fibers coming in as part of the recycled furnish (e.g., starch, sizing agents and retention aids); and carry-over of chemicals (mainly nonionic surfactants) used to convert recovered paper into fibers.

Chapter 9, "Recovered Paper Contaminants," by Barbara M. Balos and James V. Patterson, describes a number of additives/contaminants in recovered paper. "The need to incorporate more recycled materials into higher-quality paper grades will require the use of lower-quality paper grades. This is because the clean, high-quality pulp substitute grades are being recovered and recycled at close to 100%."

In Chapter 20, "Bleaching of Secondary Fiber," Jeffrey E. Angulo says that more groundwood and other mechanical pulps are being used in different grades of paper, including certain grades of book papers, computer printouts, and copy papers, and when they are recovered for recycling, they cannot be deinked in the usual way with hot alkaline solutions, because this darkens the fiber. If the pulp is bleached with chlorine to lighten it, this removes some of the lignin, reducing the yield. The addition of expensive chemical pulp to compensate is becoming less feasible, since the papers from which it is made contain increasing amounts of mechanical pulp, not to mention previously recycled fiber. More use of oxygen, ozone and peroxide is foreseen. (3B3.61)


"Stock Preparation Meets Added Demands in Papermaking Process," by Jim Young. Pulp & Paper, August 1994, p. 53-55. Journal editor Young put together this article from a series of interviews with suppliers' reps. There is a short section on preparing recycled fiber for fine paper grades, in which Terry Bliss lists the quality-related problems that come along with recycled fiber, including groundwood content, brightness, strength, and visible specks. Luigi Silveri of Beloit questions why fine paper can't be made with multiple plies or layers, the more problematical layer being on the inside. (3B3.61)


"Paper and Paper Durability. Relationship with Paper Recycling," by J.F. Colom Pastor and J.A. Garcia Hortal. Investigacion y Technica del Papel v.31, no. 120, Apr. 1994, pp. 246-268 (In Spanish). (PBA Abstract 3794, 1994. Pira can supply the full text of most of the documents cited in the PBA database; fax 011 44 0372 360104.)

In principle, the authors say, recycled paper should not age any more quickly than other paper, but it is more difficult to control the materials used in recycled paper. Factors affecting aging include type of fiber used [i.e., mechanical, semichemical, or chemical pulp] and pH. They explain ways of predicting the speed at which a paper's properties will change. (3B3.61)


"Editorial," by Helen Burgess. Journal of the IIC-Canadian Group, v.15, 1990, p. 31-32. The Editor explains why the journal switched from acidic paper to permanent paper, and why the decision was made not to use recycled paper. Although this is an old reference, it has been made relevant by President Clinton's Executive Order last October, maximizing government use of recycled materials.

In explaining why they rejected a paper containing 50% recycled fiber and 10% postconsumer fiber, she says, "The presence of post-consumer waste in the paper means that we have no control over what impurities are present in the sheet and hence its permanence cannot be guaranteed. For example, the paper may contain quantities of lignin, metallic inclusions and/or heavily oxidized and degraded fibers." She also makes the point that a white paper without distracting specks in it was necessary in order to get good reproduction of halftones.

Burgess is a senior conservation scientist at the Canadian Conservation Institute. (3B3.61)


"The Fundamental Problem in Recycling," by P. Howarth. This paper was originally written in 1977, appearing in the Transactions of the BPBIF Symposium [on] Fiber-Water Interactions in Papermaking (Oxford), p. 823-833 (Sept. 1977). It is reprinted in Progress in Paper Recycling, May 1994, p. 66-70. The author says the problem calling most urgently for attention is the nature of secondary fibers themselves; the essential difference between secondary and virgin fibers is their bondability. (3B3.61)


"Identification of Secondary Fiber in Paper," by Walter J. Rantanen. Progress in Paper Recycling, May 1994, p. 77-79. Although it is not possible to make a precise determination of the amount of secondary fiber in paper, fiber analysis can give some information on whether secondary fiber is present, and if so, about how much, and whether postconsumer waste fiber is present. At present, the author says, the most widely used and only accepted method to determine if a mill is complying with regulations is administrative examination: checking the mill records of purchases, and the blending ratios used. Sometimes an independent group can do this for a fee. (3B3.61)


"Fundamentals of Strength Loss in Recycled Paper," by Mousa M. Nazhad and Laszlo Paszner. Tappi Journal, v.77, no. 9, Sept. 1994, p. 171-179. Some fiber bonding ability is lost whenever a fiber of chemical pulp dries; mechanical pulp does not have this trouble. This loss is related to hornification and surface inactivation of the fiber. Only limited improvements in the quality of recycled fiber have been made, and the problem is still unsolved. Previous work is reviewed, and directions for future research are indicated. The 120-item bibliography includes papers by McComb and Williams, Roberson, Graminski, Howard and Burgess. (3B3.61)


"Present State of Recycling Technology in Papermaking," by Derek J. Priest. Environnement et conservation de l'écrit, de l'image et du son, Proceedings of the Second ARSAG Conference, Paris, May 16-20, 1994. p. 138-142. (To inquire about purchase of the Proceedings, contact CRCDG, 36, rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 75005 Paris, France, fax 33-1-47 07 62 95.)

This paper summarizes some of the key issues in recycling, especially where they touch on conservation. It gives a good summary, although there are few easy answers. Some of the section headings are:

Moisture sensitive bonding in paper

Types of recycled paper and waste input

Treatment of waste paper


Effect of recycling on fiber and paper properties

Permanence aspects

Recycled papers are not necessarily less permanent than papers of virgin pulp, but they are usually weaker, all things being equal, and one can expect more variability from batch to batch. If they are made alkaline, with an alkaline filler, they should be adequate for medium storage, but the author does not recommend them for long-term storage. (3B3.61)


"India: Shortage of Paper Supply," by N.N. Chatterjee. Pap. Asia vol. 9, Mar. 1994, p. 22-24, 26, 28. (This is Paper and Board Abstracts Abstract 3018. Abstracts 3019 and 3000 are also about the raw material shortage in India, where most mills use waste paper and imported pulp, supplemented by bagasse, grass and straw.)

India has more than enough mill production capacity to meet domestic market demand, but has a raw materials shortage, which is likely to grow more acute as demand doubles in the next 5 or 10 years. The managing director of a paper company discusses the company's plans for a mixed hardwood plantation. (3B3.7)


"Forest Resources and the European Paper Industry," by D. Clark. Paper presented at the XXV EUCEPA Conference, Vienna, Oct. 4-8, 1993. Proceedings 1, p. 25-37. (PBA Abstract 3022, 1993) Although Europe's forests have been prudently managed for 50 years and recycled fiber is available in increased quantities, there is a serious threat of shortage of wood in the not too distant future, because of a) world population growth and b) reduced health and vitality of Europe's forests due to pollution. (3B3.7)


"Regulating the Paper Industry: The Gov't's Demand for Paperwork Begets More," by Daniel J. Murphy. Investor's Business Daily, Sept. 27, 1994, p. A1-A2.

The paper industry's expenditures on environmental projects are reviewed, starting with its voluntary reporting in 1985 of the dioxin it found in fish downstream from kraft pulp mills. To control dioxin emission, EPA does not insist that the industry give up use of all chlorine compounds, since eliminating elemental chlorine alone reduces dioxin emissions by over 90%. Greenpeace, however, is pushing for TCF, or totally chlorine free, pulp. There is only one pulp mill in the country that makes TCF pulp, the Louisiana Pacific pulp mill in Samoa, California. Other mills are not eager to follow the example of the Samoa mill, because switching to oxygen delignification means installing additional recovery boiler capacity, at $100 million per boiler.

The article says that EPA released its long-awaited reassessment of dioxin's impact on the ecosystem on September 13, but does not tell us what it contained. (3B3.7)


"Identifying the Real Preservationists," by Duncan L. Campbell. Pulp & Paper, Nov. 1993. The author works in a pulp mill in Oregon and is a member of the Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers, but he does not see the problem in the Northwest as jobs vs. the spotted owl; he says, "We must recognize and accept the new requirements of a long-term resource management policy and learn to live within our means." He is critical of the Pulp & Paperworkers Resource Council, "an industry-funded effort to use pulp and paper company employees and union officials as corporate agents to tour the country and urge workers to lobby for more of the public's trees to cut." (3B3.93)


"Analysis of Ancient Paper and Ink," by Vilia Grosso. In Proceedings, Role of Chemistry in Archaeology: 1st International Colloquium, 15-18 November 1991. M.C. Ganorkar and N. Rama Rao, eds. (1992), p. 67-75. In order to compare analysis sensitivities and to find methods of dating, they tested samples of ancient paper with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography (GPC), x-ray diffraction (XRD), and laser-mass spectroscopy. (3B4; from AATA abstract 30-887, 1993)

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