Printech Archive, November, 1998: Re: Paper Acid Testing Solution

Re: Paper Acid Testing Solution

Wayne P. Pferdehirt (
Sat, 7 Nov 1998 00:23:13 -600

Here is a response from John Katers, a colleague of mine at the
University of Wisconsin Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center.
John used to work in the paper industry.

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 15:49:46 -0800 (PST)
From: John Katers <>
Subject: Re: Paper Acid Testing Solution
To: Wayne Pferdehirt <>


I used this stuff at Fort Howard in R&D. We tested most wastepaper for
groundwood content against various standard. As I recall, we also made up
our own solution. I would think TAPPI (Technical Assocation of the Pulp
& Paper Industry) or the Paper Institute at Georgia Tech in Atlanta
would have information on suppliers/substitutes. You should be able to
get contact information at their web pages.


> ------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
> From: "Schmidt, Curt.C" <>
> To: "''" <>
> Subject: Paper Acid Testing Solution
> Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 10:25:55 -0600
> Reply-to:
> Is anyone familiar with "Paper Acid" (paranitroaniline solution)?
> Apparently it's a concoction used by paper companies to test recycled
> paper for starch content. (Most paper companies make it up
> themselves.) It's sprayed on paper & the color change allows the
> sorting of general ledger paper from recycled ground wood paper. This
> allows the proper & efficient sorting of recycled paper (i.e. it saves
> a lot of $). Admin sorting is difficult due to the variety & quantity
> of paper used.
> It's made up of methanol (or denatured alcohol), HCl and powered
> paranitroaniline & H2O. It's been brought to our attention that our
> paper recycling personnel have been using some for quite some time
> (provided by a paper company).
> Aside from some obvious regulatory (MSDS, etc.) issues, we're
> obviously concerned about the use of this rather nasty (corrosive,
> poison, flammable) stuff. I'm told that some other paper test methods
> (pens, kits) have been tried, but haven't worked satisfactorily).
> Two questions:
> 1) Our PREFERENCE is to get rid of this nasty stuff & replace it with
> a safer, yet effective way to test recycled paper.
> Suggestions/ideas/thoughts??
> 2) If an effective substitute isn't available, then we'd obviously
> want to purchase this stuff from a commercial source (with supplied
> MSDS's, proper labeling, etc.). I'd be interested in any chemical
> vendors that could commercially supply this.
> Thanks for anything you can share.
> Curt
Wayne P. Pferdehirt, P.E., AICP
University of Wisconsin - Madison/Extension
Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center
610 Langdon Street, Room 532
Madison, WI 53703
Tel.: 608-265-2361
Fax: 608-262-0910



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