Printech Archive
Re: chlorine-dioxide bleaching process

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Date: Mon Jan 25 1999 - 15:41:38 CST


Using elemental free chlorine (ECF) or chlorine dioxide versus elemental
chlorine for bleaching paper is preferred because it significantly reduces the
formation of dioxin in the wastewater of paper mills. Studies have shown that
fish and other animals downstream from paper mills using elemental chlorine
bleaching have elevated levels of dioxin in their bodies. Since these animals
are lower on the food chain, there would be gradual build up of dioxin in
those animals that would eat these animals.

There is a debate in terms of ECF and another bleaching process called totally
chlorine free (TCF). TCF will typically use ozone and peroxide as the
bleaching agents. The biggest point of contention involves the formation of
dioxin in that ECF still has the potential to form dioxin, but that it can't
be measured with today's techniques. Since it can't be measured, does it
exist? It is also my understanding that it takes more trees to produce the
same amount of pulp using TCF technologies. EPA has ruled in the pulp and
paper cluster rule that ECF represents the best available technology and is
not requiring paper companies subject to the rule to adopt TCF bleaching

For additional information, you can contact The Alliance For Environmental
Technologies who has a wide variety of information regarding the ECF Vs TCF
issue. They can be contacted at or 1/800 999-PULP.

Gary Jones

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