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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Examination of environmental quality of raw and composting de-inking paper sludge.

Paper sludges were traditionally landfilled or burned. Over the years, the use of paper sludges on soils has increased, as well as the concerns about their environmental effects. Therefore, the chemical characterization of paper sludges and their young (immature) compost needed to be investigated, and over 150 inorganic and organic chemicals were analyzed in de-inking paper sludge (DPS). In general, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium contents were low but variable in raw DPS and its young compost. The contents of arsenic, boron, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, lead, selenium, and zinc were also low and showed low variability. However, the copper contents were above the Canadian compost regulation for unrestricted use and required a follow-up. The fatty- and resin acids, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were the organic chemicals measured at the highest concentrations. For resinic acids, care should be taken to avoid that leachates reach aquatic life. For polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, naphthalene should be followed until soil content reaches 0.1 microg g(-1), the maximum allowed for soil use for agricultural purposes according to Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines. In young compost, the concentration of these chemical families decreased over time and most compounds were below the detection limits after 24 weeks of composting. In raw DPS, among the phenol, halogenated and monoaromatic hydrocarbons, dioxin and furan, and polychlorinated biphenyl families, most compounds were below the detection limits. The raw DPS and its young compost do not represent a major threat for the environment but can require an environmental follow-up.[1]


  1. Examination of environmental quality of raw and composting de-inking paper sludge. Beauchamp, C.J., Charest, M.H., Gosselin, A. Chemosphere (2002) [Pubmed]
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