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December 3, 1997

Contact: John P. Ximenes

NEW Science Supports ECF Bleaching
Study By International Panel of Experts Reconfirms ECF Bleaching Presents Insignificant Environmental Risk to Aquatic Ecosystem from Chlorinated Substances

(WASHINGTON, December 3, 1997) -- A peer-reviewed, scientific panel report released at the "3rd International Conference on Environmental Fate and Effects of Pulp and Paper Mill Effluents" reconfirms that bleaching with chlorine dioxide (ECF Bleaching) presents an insignificant risk to aquatic eco-systems from chlorinated substances. The report, "Evaluation of Ecological Risks Associated with the Use of Chlorine Dioxide for the Bleaching of Pulp: Scientific Progress Since 1993," was presented in the opening session at the November 9 - 13, 1997, Rotorua, New Zealand conference by Dr. Peter Hodson, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. The six authoring panelists, chaired by Dr. Keith Solomon, Centre for Toxicology, University of Guelph, concluded that:

"This risk assessment reconfirms the earlier conclusion that the chlorinated substances produced as a direct result of the bleaching using chlorine dioxide, and subjected to secondary biological treatment, present a negligible (insignificant) risk to aquatic ecosystems."

The panel followed a protocol similiar to the risk assessment frameworks developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada.

The study was a review of the relevant science published since 1993 and provides a scientific progress report updating an earlier study, "A Review and Assessment of the Ecological Effects Associated with the Use of Chlorine Dioxide in the Bleaching of Pulp," published in 1993.

"The debate over the environmental risks of alternative bleaching technologies is over," said Douglas C. Pryke, Executive Director of the Alliance for Environmental Technology (AET). "The scientific facts are in and can now be used as the basis for environmental decisions. Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) bleaching, based on 100 percent chlorine dioxide substitution, poses an insignificant ecological risk to the environment from chlorinated substances. The report is the strongest evidence to date and supports the bleached chemical pulp and paper industry's move to embrace this technology throughout the world. The industry should be proud of its environmental progress and continued commitment to environmental integrity," concluded Mr. Pryke.

The Alliance for Environmental Technology is an international association of forest product companies and 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 (800) 999-PULP or visiting AET's web site at