Not all bad press is good press – Time to go talc-free for pitch control

In recent months, there has been a growing concern with the health risks posed by talc. Media buzz reached a peak when an ovarian cancer victim won a huge lawsuit against a major talc-using firm. The court ordered the company to compensate the woman, who claimed her disease was linked to using talc products for feminine hygiene.

The decision has since then been overruled, but talc is nonetheless clearly in the public eye.

Why does it matter for paper makers?

Historically, both inorganic adsorbents such as talc and organic dispersants have been used for pitch prevention. These treatment programs work efficiently to reduce high levels of pulp contamination, which would otherwise result in a decrease in sales prices, reprocessing costs, and, ultimately, customer complaints.

As long as people have been making paper from trees, pulp manufacturers have struggled to eliminate pitch. Pitch is a complex organic colloidal contamination released during the pulp production process and can contain resin acids, fatty acids, triglyceride fats, steryl esters, sitosterols and other unsaponifiable materials. Pitch can vary in amount, tackiness, and composition, and poses a major challenge for pulp manufacturers, as it can agglomerate and its sticky nature causes production and quality issues.

Enters a new talc-free alternative

Fortunately, Archroma’s R&D team made a breakthrough when they found an alternative to the use of talc for pitch prevention. The recently launched Cartaspers® PLH liquid is a novel treatment that offers many benefits talc cannot. It is very effective in attracting non-polar (hydrophobic) substances, such as natural pitch and stickies, and helps to passivate contamination as well as prevent agglomeration and deposition. Cartaspers® PLH liquid makes use of a new mechanism that has no impact on cellulosic material, and as it is a liquid solution, it is much easier to handle than powder-like talc. It performs well across all water hardness levels, including soft water, and complies with both BfR and FDA food contact regulations. Furthermore, it leads to a significant reduction in downtime, which can enable higher yields with a reduced need for cleaning agents.

Stay away from bad publicity – Choose a talc-free alternative for pitch control.

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