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October 20, 1993
Contact: Doug Pryke

New Analysis Demonstrates That Chlorine Dioxide Is the Environmental Standard For Papermaking

(Toronto, Ontario, October 20, 1993) -- A panel of scientists announced today the results of its analysis of the ecological effects from using chlorine dioxide in papermaking. The report will be provided to the International joint Commission (IJC), the Canadian-American bilateral organization established to monitor the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, at its seventh biennial meeting on October 22-24,1993 in Windsor, Ontario.

The panel reached a unanimous opinion. "The environmental risks from chlorinated organics are insignificant at mills bleaching with chlorine dioxide, employing secondary treatment and with receiving water dilutions typically found in North America," said the panel's chairman, Dr. Keith Solomon. "The IJC and the public demand progress; chlorine dioxide is an important milestone in environmental safety."

"In fact, chlorine dioxide is one solution to the problem of dioxin and other persistent, bio-accumulative toxic substances in mill waste water," added panel member Dr. Donald Mackay. "A well operated mill using chlorine dioxide could possibly achieve the IJC's goal calling for the virtual elimination of these substances."

The Alliance for Environmental Technology requested the panel of scientists to prepare an opinion on the chemistry and possible biological effects of waste water from pulp and paper mills using chlorine dioxide.

The members of the panel are: 1) Dr. Keith Solomon, Centre for Toxicology, University of Guelph, Ontario (panel chairman); 2) Dr. Harold Bergman, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming; 3) Dr. Robert Hugget, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, The College of William and Mary; 4) Dr. Donald Mackay, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Toronto, and member of the IJC's Virtual Elimination Task Force; and 5) Dr. Bruce McKague, CanSyn Chem. Corp., Toronto.

The analysis is the first of its kind to follow the US Environmental Protection Agency's Framework for Ecological Risk Assessment. It is entitled: "A Review and Assessment of the Ecological Risks Associated with the Use of Chlorine Dioxide for the Bleaching of Pulp." The analysis included building a conceptual model, a review of nearly 300 works on the subject and a comprehensive risk assessment.

"It's not magic, just fundamental chemistry, that explains the environmental benefits of chlorine dioxide," said Dr. Bruce McKague. "Chlorine dioxide, except for sharing the same word in its name, is a very different chemical from chlorine gas. These benefits result from the distinct way chlorine dioxide interacts with organic material."

"In conclusion, because of chlorine dioxide's environmental performance, the public should not have to worry about the potential risks to human health and to the environment from chlorinated organics in mill waste water," concluded panel member Dr. Robert Hugget.

The Alliance for Environmental Technology is an organization of 15 Canadian and American chemical manufacturers and forest product companies that aims to advance the environmental performance of papermaking.

For a paper copy of the entire 75-page report or a three-page summary, contact AET.