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July 29, 2002
Contact: Doug Pryke

EPA Confirms Steady Decline In Dioxin Advisories Downstream Of Pulp and Paper Mills: A 70 Percent Decrease Since 1990

(WASHINGTON) -- The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Listing of Fish and Wildlife Consumption Advisories (NLFWCA) shows that out of 2,618 total waterbody advisories in the U.S., 75 are attributed to dioxin, representing less than 3 percent of the total affected waterbodies in the country. According to further analysis by the Alliance for Environmental Technology (AET), of these 75 dioxin advisories, only 11 are downstream of bleached chemical pulp and paper mills --- less than one-half of one percent of the total 2,618 waterbodies under advisory at the end of 2001.

AET's 2002 report, "Eco-System Recovery: Liftings of Fish Consumption Advisories for Dioxin Downstream of U.S. Pulp and Paper Mills," credits the steady decline in these advisories to the virtual elimination of dioxin discharges due to complete substitution of chlorine dioxide for chlorine gas in the first stage of chemical pulp bleaching - so called Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF). The report, based on data from individual state environmental and health authorities and NLFWCA, shows that since 1990, states have lifted a total of 24 fish consumption advisories for dioxin downstream of bleached pulp and paper mills. This represents an almost 70 percent decline in the total number of these advisories in place at the end of 1990.

On April 15, 1998, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its conclusion regarding the technology basis for Best Available Technology (BAT) options as part of its pulp and paper Cluster Rule. The Cluster Rule sets effluent limitations and pretreatment guidelines for all bleached pulp, paper, and paperboard mills. EPA chose to base its Cluster Rule guidelines on a technology option that includes the complete (100 percent) substitution of chlorine dioxide for chlorine - so called Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF).

"While the Cluster Rule seeks elimination of dioxin, the U.S. industry was already far ahead of the rule in achieving this goal. These results are a further demonstration of the industry's continued commitment to pollution prevention and protection of waterbodies downstream of pulp mills," said Doug Pryke, Executive Director of AET.

"Furthermore, EPA has stated that these process changes will provide for the potential lifting of all remaining fish advisories at sites downstream of pulp mills. Today's results are consistent with EPA's projections and bode well for the future," said Mr. Pryke.

The Alliance for Environmental Technology is an international association of chemical manufacturers dedicated to improving the environmental performance of the pulp and paper industry. A full text version of the report is available by contacting AET at 1-(800)-999-PULP or online at AET's web site at