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Less Chlorine-Free Paper
by Douglas C. Pryke
Environmental Science & Technology
September 1997


Dear Editor:

Inaccuracies in your news article (January 1997, p. 18A) on totally chlorine-free paper (TCF) transformed the story about children's author Lynne Cherry into a tall tale. The article states that "one third of the total 70-million-ton European pulp and paper market is [totally chlorine free]."

Two facts in this sentence are in error. The world market, not the European market, for bleached chemical pulp is approximately 70 million metric tons. According to the Alliance for Environmental Technology's "1997 Pulp Production Report," the most authoritative source for bleached kraft pulp production, TCF pulp production clings to 6% of the world market. In 1996, the entire world produced less than 5 million metric tons of TCF pulp.

In contrast, elemental chlorine-free paper (ECF) currently holds 50% of the world bleached chemical pulp market, for the first time surpassing all other bleaching processes.

Cheerleading for a product that the market has not accepted for sound reasons is not something I expect from ES&T.