Technical Bulletins & Special Reports

Technical Bulletin No. 0836: Patterns and Processes of Variation in Nitrogen and Phosphorus Concentrations in Forested Streams

Articles describing environmental health hazards appear almost aily in the popular press. The public is concerned about potential health risks associated with the use of agricultural chemicals, solid waste disposal sites, and industrial emissions. Thus, it is not surprising that managers of pulp and paper mills and representatives of the companies that own them periodically receive requests from the residents of mill communities for information on potential health hazards associated with mill operations. This review provides a summary of published reports in which the public health of kraft pulp mill communities has been evaluated. It includes an introduction to the nature of community health studies, brief synopses of specific published reports, and an overall summary of the conclusions reached in the relevant investigations of pulp mill community health. Most kraft pulp mill community studies have focused on respiratory health, but some have examined general health endpoints or mortality associated with cancer. None of the studies described here provides conclusive evidence that the emissions of a modern pulp mill pose any measurable or serious health risk to the residents of surrounding communities.