The pulp and paper industry deals with many chemicals and pollutants.

During operation and after they are gone, pulp and paper mills can leave behind significant chemical pollutants – dioxins (a by-product from the chlorine used in the bleaching process of paper) and petroleum as well as many others.

Dioxins can also come from “sulfate liquor,” which is used to break wood down into pulp. In fact, dioxin is a general term for a group of hundreds of toxic chemicals that can come from numerous sources.

The chemicals can contaminate nearby waterways, groundwater, soil and air.

Dioxin exposure becomes a health problem when the chemicals accumulate in fatty tissue of animals, becoming a food chain problem.

They have been liked to cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, hormonal changes and cancer, the World Health Organization says.

In the case of a recently closed mill in Everett, the contamination could have been the reason why a potential buyer walked away and it may require an urgent cleanup.

Pulp and paper mills produce 9 million tons of pulp annually according to the U.S. EPA and are a strong player in the economy.

Source: The Herald

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