The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 5
Nov 1995

North American Permanent Papers 1995 Names 423 Printing/Writing Papers

Abbey Publications has revised and enlarged its 1994 list of North American papers that qualify as permanent by the U.S. standard, ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992, "Permanence of Paper for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives." Twenty percent more mills responded to the survey in 1995 than in 1994, and the list of papers for 1995 is 10% longer than last year, although it was kept as short as possible by combining similar entries and weeding out doubtful entries.

Of the 423 papers in the list, 235 (55%) contain recycled fiber. Eight percent of the papers are 100% recycled; many contain 20% postconsumer waste. This confirms the conclusion based on last year's results, that recycled paper can also be long-lived.

The ANSI/NISO standard has four requirements: pH 7.5 to 10.0 for uncoated paper and 7.0 to 10.0 for the core paper in coated stock; a 2% alkaline reserve (calcium carbonate); tear index of 5.25 mNm2/g for uncoated paper and 3.50 mNm2/g for coated paper; and kappa number (a measure of lignin content) no greater than 7. Since the great majority of printing and writing mills today make their paper in the alkaline range so that they can use calcium carbonate as a filler, many papers meet the first two requirements. (Some usually alkaline papers, however, are occasionally made at an acid pH; these had to be excluded.) Several mills volunteered that their papers did not meet the tear resistance requirement. Other mills or companies reported that their papers did not comply with the kappa number requirement.

Since the 1994 edition was published, there have been many changes with the paper mills or companies. One (Noranda) no longer makes printing and writing papers; Canadian Pacific changed its name to Avenor; Stora Newton Falls has been bought by Appleton; and James River spun off a number of its mills into a new company named Crown Vantage, which will be making most of the P/W papers formerly made by James River.

This year, the papers are listed only by company and type or use of the paper. The brand name list has been dropped. There is a new page on the topic of papers that can be safely used to store photographic materials, and on the Photographic Activity Test, which identifies the safe papers. This new page was added because many people use the list to find papers for their photo albums or books of mementos, not realizing that even a permanent paper may damage the color photographs or historic images stored next to it because of the high pH or the carryover of papermaking chemicals to which these photographs are sensitive. (Modern black and white photographs, however, are probably safe with any permanent paper; no report has been received to the contrary.)

The introduction and the sections on "The Nature of Permanence" and "Standards and Testing" have been extensively rewritten and updated. New sections have been added on recycled paper and the ISR research project on paper permanence, both compiled from back issues of the Alkaline Paper Advocate. There is a page explaining how the papers are listed, which should be helpful. The section on the U.S. permanent paper law, P.L. 101-423, remains virtually unchanged, as does W.K. Wilson's history of the development of permanent record papers.

The report is available for $19.50 postpaid (check or money order) from Abbey Publications (7105 Geneva Dr., Austin, TX 78723, tel. 512/929-3992, fax 929-3995): North American Permanent Papers, 1995. Soft cover, wire binding. vi + 52 pp. ISBN 0-9622071-3-6.

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