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Re: Questions about Decay/Paper

Thanks to Dick Grant for his very complete answers to questions regarding the
use of trees for making paper, the process of making paper from wood pulp,
and also deterioration of paper made from wood pulp.

It should also be noted that this whole business of making paper from trees
has serious negative environmental effects. The forests of the world provide
many, many ecological services for us, not the least of which producing
atmospheric oxygen for us to breathe, preventing soil erosion, and protecting
water resources. Deforestation is an ongoing problem. As Dick says, paper
pulp these days is cooked with chemicals. A chemical byproduct of this
process is dioxin, the same poison used in Vietnam to defoliate the tropical
forest and a chemical known to cause deformities and cancers in humans.

Hemp and kenaf which could be grown on the Great Plains, make a better paper,
and we don't have to cut down the world's forests.

I read in a botany book once about some fellow that imported a bunch of mummy
rags into the U.S. in the 19th century before wood cellulose became the main
source of paper.  Yes, mummy rags, that is, he lifted the rags off old
mummies from Egyptian tombs. Needless to say, he found the source of the rags
somewhat limited and he went out of business. Oh...but what I wouldn't give
to see some of that mummy paper.

C.J. Shane

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