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September 22, 1995

Contact: Patrick Hurston

Greenpeace Grasping At Straws With New Claims About Toxaphene

(September 22, 1995 -- Duluth, MN) -- Claims by Greenpeace today accusing the Great Lakes pulp and paper industry as being a source of the chemical toxaphene have no basis in fact or science, according to current research by international experts.

As chemists know, toxaphene, made primarily for use as an insecticide, simply cannot be created at a pulp and paper mill. "Unless you break the laws of chemistry, it is not possible to create toxaphene in pulp and paper manufacture," said Dr. Doug Reeve, Director, Pulp and Paper Centre, University of Toronto. "Pulp is bleached in the dark, but formation of toxaphene needs light," added Dr. Reeve.

Various studies of Lake Superior have found toxaphene, which is considered primarily due to atmospheric deposition from distant sources. In addition, investigators are currently looking into other local sources. In Scandinavia, where toxaphene has undergone intensive scrutiny, no connection whatsoever has been linked, in the lab or in the field, to the pulp and paper industry.

"When we did measure toxaphene in fish, our studies clearly demonstrated it was not from pulp and paper mill waste water," said Dr. J. Passivirta, University of JyvŠskylŠ, Finland, a leading international authority on the subject.

"Greenpeace is clearly grasping at straws. By raising this kind of irresponsible red herring, Greenpeace is only obstructing further environmental progress by the pulp and paper industry, which has solved the problem of dioxin," concluded Mr. Doug Pryke, Executive Director of the Alliance for Environmental Technology (AET).

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