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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 1995

Contact: Noreen Figueroa


Dramatic Decline Seen In Fish Advisories For Dioxin
- EPA Releases Database, Confirms Eco-system Recovery Downstream of US Pulp Mills -


(August 28, 1995, Washington, DC) -- Dioxin advisories for waterbodies downstream of US pulp mills have dropped by more than 50% over the last four years, according to a new report now available from the Alliance for Environmental Technology (AET). Based on statistics gathered from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state health and environmental departments, the report shows that since 1990, 13 states have lifted a total of 17 dioxin advisories from waterbodies downstream of US pulp and paper mills.

Addressing the American Fisheries Society earlier today, US EPA Administrator Carol Browner unveiled the agency's 1994 National Listing of Fish Consumption Advisories. The database shows that 89 percent of the existing fish consumption advisories are attributed to mercury, PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyls), and the pesticide chlordane. According to the database, dioxin advisories continue to decline, representing just 3 percent of the total number of current advisories.

AET's analysis supplements the 1994 EPA data with 1995 data gathered from individual state environmental and health authorities. AET's report shows that the remaining dioxin advisories downstream of US pulp mills represent just one percent of the more than 1,500 waterbodies currently listed under a fish consumption advisory by the EPA.

"Our analysis of EPA data shows that the number of waterbodies under a dioxin advisory downstream of US pulp mills is a very small and diminishing percentage of all affected waterbodies," said Douglas Pryke, Executive Director of AET. "This is good news from our industry to anglers everywhere and underscores both our commitment to protecting our natural water resources and the progress we have made."

State authorities issue fish consumption advisories or bans to protect sport and subsistence anglers, and the general public, from the risk of consuming locally caught, contaminated fish. Based on factors including water quality and tissue sample analyses, such advisories are generally lifted once the contamination level falls -- and remains -- below standards determined by each state.

Process improvements undertaken by the pulp and paper industry, including the increased use of chlorine dioxide as a bleaching agent, have sharply reduced dioxin discharges, Mr. Pryke added. "As part of our industry's continued commitment to environmental stewardship, we have reduced dioxin emissions to non-detect levels at 90 percent of US pulp mills," he said. "The switch to an Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) process, based on chlorine dioxide, is underway and will ensure continued progress in eco-system recovery," he said.

AET is an international association of chemical manufacturers and forest product companies dedicated to improving the environmental performance of the pulp and paper industry.

The table below is based on both the 1994 National Listing of Fish Consumption Advisories and 1995 data from individual state agencies. A copy of AET's analysis is available by contacting info@aet.org.

Attachment 1: Fish Consumption Advisories for Select States [1]

Select States Active Advisories: All Pollutants Dioxin Advisories: Issued (1983-95) [2] Dioxin Advisories: Lifted (1990-95) [3] Active Dioxin Advisories:
Current Total
Alabama 11 3 3 0
Arkansas 22 3 2 1
California 26 2 2 0
Florida 89 2 1 1
Georgia 9 0 0 0
Idaho 1 0 0 0
Kentucky 6 0 0 0
Louisiana 11 1 0 1
Maine 5 6 2 4
Maryland 3 1 1 [4] 0
Michigan 66 2 1 1 [5]
Minnesota 565 0 0 0 [6]
Mississippi 6 2 1 1
New Hampshire 4 1 0 1
New York 62 0 0 0
North Carolina 15 4 [7] 1 3 [8]
Ohio 20 0 0 0
Oregon 7 0 0 0
Pennsylvania 23 1 1 0
South Carolina 26 1 1 0
Tennessee 19 1 0 1 [8]
Texas 17 2 0 2
Virginia 6 2 1 1
Washington 2 1 0 1
Wisconsin 260 1 0 1
West Virginia 6 1 1 [4] 0
TOTAL 18 [*] 19 [**]
  1. Data derive from the 1994 US EPA National Listing of Fish Consumption Advisories (NLFCA) and 1995 data from individual state agencies. Because of the different ways states count and issue advisories, comparing the numbers across states is difficult and can be misleading. A greater absolute number of advisories, often reflecting state environmental priorities and costs associated with water quality testing may or may not indicate increased risk by a particular contaminant.
  2. Dioxin advisories reflect those issued over the period 1983-1995 for waterbodies downstream of US pulp mills.
  3. Dioxin advisories reflect those lifted over the period 1990-1995 for waterbodies downstream of US pulp mills.
  4. Both Maryland and West Virginia lifted dioxin advisories on the Potomac River. Both state advisories are counted as one lifting in the AET report because the river runs through both states. The state counting is reflected in the total active advisories marked by a single asterisk [*] above.
  5. According to 1995 data from the Michigan Department of Public Health, there are no dioxin advisories on Thunder Bay or Thunder Bay River, as is reflected in the 1994 EPA NLFCA.
  6. According to 1995 data from the Minnesota Department of Environmental Health there are no dioxin advisories on the Mississippi River, Rainy River, or the St. Louis River, as is reflected in the 1994 EPA NLFCA.
  7. According to both the 1994 EPA NLFCA and state authorities from North Carolina, a dioxin advisory on the Pigeon River has been partially rescinded.
  8. North Carolina and Tennessee issued dioxin advisories for the Pigeon River in 1988 and 1989, respectively. Both state advisories are counted as one advisory in the AET report because the river runs through both states. The state counting is reflected in the total active advisories marked by a double asterisk [**] above.

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