Carbonless copy paper
Carbonless copy paper (CCP), non-carbon copy paper, or NCR paper is an alternative to carbon paper, used to make a copy of a document as it is written by hand or impact-printed, creating pressure which ruptures micro-encapsulated dyes on the back of a sheet and hence prints the copy sheet underneath. The process was invented in 1952 by chemists Lowell Schleicher and Barry Green, working for the NCR Corporation, as a biodegradable, stain-free alternative to carbon paper. Early product literature called the paper No Carbon Required paper, the well-known initials of the its developer, National Cash Register company. NCR paper was made in multi-sheet forms, producing an original and a number of copies.
Carbonless copy paper consists of sheets of paper that are coated with micro-encapsulated dye or ink or a reactive clay. The back of the first sheet is coated with micro-encapsulated dye. The lowermost sheet is coated on the top surface with a clay that quickly reacts with the dye to form a permanent mark. Any intermediate sheets are coated with clay on top and dye on the bottom.
When the sheets are written on with pressure (e.g., ball-point pen) or impact (e.g., typewriter, dot-matrix printer), the pressure causes the micro-capsules to break and spill their dye. Since the capsules are so small, the print obtained is very accurate.
Carbonless copy paper was also available in a self-contained version that had both the ink and the clay on the same side of the paper.
Carbonless copy paper, commonly known in the printing industry as NCR paper, was first produced by the NCR Corporation. Before this the usual options were to write documents more than once or use carbon paper which was inserted between the sheet being written on and the copy.
The paper was commonly used for business stationery requiring one or more copies, such as invoices and receipts. The various copies were often made on paper of different colors, e.g. white original for customer, yellow copy for supplier's records, pink, green, and blue copies for other purposes. Stacks of ten or more copies were not unknown.
Dyes and chemicals
The first dye used commercially in this application was crystal violet lactone, which is widely used today. Other dyes and supporting chemicals used are PTSMH (p-toluene sulfinate of Michler's hydrol), TMA (trimellitic anhydride), phenol-formaldehyde resins, azo dyes, DIPN (diisopropyl naphthalenes), formaldehyde isocyanates, hydrocarbon-based solvents, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polyoxypropylene diamine, epoxy resins, aliphatic isocyanates, Bisphenol A, diethylene triamine, and others. The dyes in carbonless copy papers may cause contact dermatitis in sensitive persons.
Health and environmental concerns
Until the 1970s, when the use of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was banned due to health and environmental concerns, PCBs were used as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper. PCBs are readily transferred to human skin during handling of such papers, and it is difficult to achieve decontamination by ordinary washing with soap and water. In Japan, carbonless copy paper is still treated as a PCB-contaminated waste.
Exposure to certain types of carbonless copy paper or its components has resulted, under some conditions, in mild to moderate symptoms of skin irritation and irritation of the mucosal membranes of the eyes and upper respiratory tract. A 2000 review found no irritation or sensitization on contact with carbonless copy paper produced after 1987. In most cases, good industrial hygiene and work practices should be adequate to reduce or eliminate symptoms. These include adequate ventilation, humidity, and temperature controls; proper housekeeping; minimal hand-to-mouth and hand-to-eye contact; and periodic cleansing of hands.
The University of Florida has found that chronic exposure to carbonless copy paper can be hazardous to a person's health. Scientists there found higher rates of sick leave and illness complaints at the office using large amounts of carbonless copy paper. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives provides new evidence that exposure to paper dust and carbonless copy paper in office work are related to increased risk of adult-onset asthma.
In 2001, three employees of a medical center in San Francisco filed a lawsuit against their employer, blaming exposure to carbonless copy paper and other chemicals for their inflammatory breast cancer.
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