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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 47, November 19, 2006, Article 23

ON ECO-FRIENDLY INK FOR BANKNOTES

Regarding last week's item on a new "Green" ink, Bob Leuver, former
head of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing writes: "The BEP
would study the eco-friendly ink very carefully prior to using it,
if it is promoted by a senator or congressperson.

The last time BEP changed the intrinsic properties of ink, to my
knowledge, was in 1977, or, at least 1975-1978.  At that time, the
lead base was taken out of ink (and paint) by a Federal law.

Much of the counterfeiting of U.S. banknotes today is a result of
the aforementioned legislation--not that the legislation was wrong!
Lead allowed the green and black ink to leach into the cotton and
linen fibers of the banknote substrate.  Once leached into the
substrate, they do not wash out.

Current counterfeiters can bleach post-1977 banknotes in a solution
of Clorox and water for, perhaps, twenty minutes, and the substrate
is "clean" with only the watermark and plastic fibers intact within
the substrate.  After drying, a new banknote can be printed by offset.
It may be tedious work, but highly profitable, when one considers that
for an investment of a dollar banknote and pennies for the Clorox,
water, offset inks and printing, one can have legitimate feeling
$100 U.S. banknotes.

I was in Chicago recently, and the Chicago Tribune had an article
about such counterfeits being passed in large quantities in the
darkened confines of night clubs and bars."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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