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April 7, 1997

Contact: John P. Ximenes

Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) Pulp To Capture 50 Percent of World Market

-- New Data Bolsters International Consensus of Environmental and Product Performance --

(WASHINGTON, April 7, 1997) -- Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) pulp, bleached with chlorine dioxide, will account for 50 percent of the world bleached chemical pulp market in 1997. The continuing market growth for ECF is documented in "Trends in World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990 - 1997," an annual report released today by the Alliance for Environmental Technology (AET).

"Never before has the marketplace spoken its preference so clearly. ECF's superior environmental performance coupled with its excellent product quality have made it the product and process of choice the world over," said Douglas C. Pryke, executive director of AET.

The report documents yearly pulp production data since 1990 for ECF, TCF (Totally Chlorine-Free), and others bleached with a mixture of chlorine and chlorine dioxide.

In the U.S., ECF pulp production will grow to nearly 13 million tonnes in 1997, a growth of more than 2,000 percent since 1990. In contrast, TCF-bleached pulp currently accounts for 6 percent of the world market with no increase over 1996 figures. TCF production remained at less than one percent of the U.S. market.

Since the industry began it's conversion toward ECF bleaching in the late 1980s, dioxin emissions have been reduced by more than 98 percent. As a result, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data show that since 1990, 13 states have lifted a total of 17 fish consumption advisories for dioxin downstream of U.S. pulp mills. "The proof is in the progress," said Pryke. "As more and more mills convert to ECF processes, the international pulp and paper industry will ensure that we continue down the road of eco-system recovery, and overall environmental integrity," he added.

In July of 1996, the U.S. EPA issued its "Notice of Availability" for the Agency's proposed Cluster Rule for the pulp and paper industry. In the "Notice," EPA proposed two options for Best Available Technology, both based on ECF (100 percent substitution of chlorine dioxide for chlorine).

"EPA's proposal gives further testimony to ECF's unrivaled environmental performance and ECF's market is evidence of a convergence of sound public policy, market demand, and environmental protection," stated Pryke.

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


Note to Editors: a copy of the report is available upon request.