Safer Chemicals Partnership
The use of hazardous chemicals in products and processes poses a number of challenges to businesses. Using hazardous chemicals safely often requires expensive capital equipment (ventilation, hoods, etc.), and costs for personal protective equipment and employee training. Additional costs are required for special hazardous chemical storage or containment, hazardous waste disposal, and regulatory compliance. Businesses also face risks from chemical exposures to workers, facility neighbors, customers and the environment.
Tools for Identifying Safer Alternatives
Adopting safer chemical alternatives poses a number of challenges to businesses, but the first step is to identify possible chemical alternatives and assess their comparative hazards. PPRC is partnering with the Washington Department of Ecology to pilot tools for chemical hazard assessment, including the GreenScreen™ for Safer Chemicals and the Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT). The GreenScreen™ involves a comprehensive hazard assessment of 18 criteria or endpoints, including human health, ecotoxicity, environmental fate (persistence and bioaccumulation) and physical hazards (flammability and reactivity). The QCAT considers a similar but smaller subset of 9 criteria.
Working with Ecology’s Pollution Prevention staff, PPRC has identified a number of “typical” Washington chemicals of concern for hazard assessment using the GreenScreen™ and QCAT tools. The goal of the project is to demonstrate how these tools can be used to guide the adoption of safer chemicals. Results of the assessments are tentatively planned for publication (following validation) at the IC2 Safer Alteratives Assessment website (http://www.ic2saferalternatives.org/). Furthermore, as challenges and barriers to the hazard assessment process are identified, PPRC is working with Ecology to recommend practical method improvements, support resources, and training needs to facilitate wider use of these tools by businesses or technical assistance providers.
GreenScreen™ for Safer Chemicals http://www.cleanproduction.org/Greenscreen.php
Quick Chemical Assessment Tool http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/ChemAlternatives/QCAT.html
Washington Department of Ecology Assessing the Safety of Chemical Alternatives http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/ChemAlternatives/index.html
Additional resources are identified at PPRC’s Safer Chemical Alternatives Topic Hub http://pprc.org/newsite_hubs/index.cfm?page=subsection&hub_id=1027&subsec_id=103