USA: United Methodists say “no” to dioxins
Update: January 2011:
United Methodist Women
(UMW) continue to press paper companies to stock
chlorine-free paper (PCF); the campaign has now been
running for over a decade.
The UMW has been
using the method of letter-writing, with the aim of
getting more corporations on board. It has already
managed to get three nationwide companies to stock PCF
paper in some of their stores.
In most cases
it takes several hundred letters to each company to get
a positive response but despite that, more corporations
are constantly being added to the campaign’s list.
As their Sacred Gift, the Women’s Division
of the US United Methodist Church launched an important
initiative in 2000 to eliminate chlorine in paper
products used by the church. The aim was to build
consumer demand for chlorine-free paper throughout the
Following consultations with
experts from around the world, the Church has developed
a strategy for putting consumer pressure on the US paper
Dioxins and other toxins interfere
with the body’s essential hormone functions and have
been linked to cancers, infertility and abnormal
development in both humans and wildlife. They are
released into the environment during the production of
paper that contains chlorine, as well as during its
As a result of the Gift United
Methodists throughout the USA launched a major campaign
to persuade one of the largest nationwide printing and
photocopying companies to provide the option of
chlorine-free paper. By 2002 they had succeeded.
United Methodists have more than 7 million members in
36,000 churches across the country with a further 6,300
churches and more than 1 million members outside the US.
Between them, this Church and its members use more paper
than the whole of Sweden.