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Kaofin is the trademarked name of a absorbency product created in 1993 by Marcal Paper Mills, Inc. and banned for use by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 1997. The product itself is a combination of a wide variety of substances.[1]


Kaofin is mixture of kaolin clay and cellulose fibers. Kaofin has also been found to contain heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins, PCP, and other byproducts of the paper manufacturing industry. Kaofin's physical properties are a grey, fine powder with a high rate of absorbency.[2]


Marcal first received permission to sell Kaofin, a waste product of its paper manufacturing processes, as a result of a BUD letter issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 1993.[3]

Between 1993 and 1997, Marcal transported large quantities of Kaofin to disposal sites at the Top Soil Depot in Wayne, NJ and at Tom's River, NJ.[4]

In 1996, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection notified Marcal of the company's failure to submit quarterly reports for a portion of the year.

In 1997, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection banned the sale or use of Kaofin and required that no further Kaofin be shipped from Marcal, due to concerns about the product's toxicity.

Kaofin has been slightly altered and renamed as a loophole around the ban, and continues to be produced and distributed daily.


Kaofin contains a number of substances toxic to humans and animals, including heavy metals, PCBs, dioxins, and PCP. This renders Kaofin toxic if ingested or even upon physical contact in high concentrations. Several of the substances in Kaofin are known carcinogens, while others can cause acute symptoms such as chloracne. The fine powdery nature of Kaofin can also render it a respiratory hazard.