Safe Chemical Resources
Chemicals perform a nearly unimaginable number of critical functions in modern society. Pick any product you can imagine and chemicals are essential to even the most basic functions of that product. When a chemical is identified to perform a certain task, the first expectation is that the chemical is capable of performing that task. However, new research is challenging the application and historical use of some chemicals due to concerns about human health and environmental impacts. Below are a series of chemicals that have been identified as having significant human health or environmental impacts, as well as safer replacements for those chemicals for specific applications.
Efficacy alone is often not enough to determine whether or not a particular chemical should be used, and human health considerations for certain applications should be weighed as heavily as the chemical’s ability to complete a task. Fortunately, resources are available for companies to evaluate health hazards from well known and even new chemicals.
ChemHAT is a project of the Blue Green Alliance and can be used to identify various human health, environmental, and physical hazards of an exhaustive list of chemicals. Search for chemicals by name or CAS number.
Green Screen is a product of Clean Production Action and assigns benchmark scores to chemicals based on known harms and new research about impacts of chemicals. Green Screen is a rigorous standard that requires practitioners to be trained or for those seeking to analyze a chemical to work with a certified practitioner to obtain a benchmark score.
The Quick Chemical Assessment Tool was developed by the Washington Department of Ecology to provide a ranking criteria for chemicals similar to Green Screen while also making it easy for small businesses to utilize. The tool prioritizes chronic human health and environmental impacts such as cancer and bioaccumulation.
The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse is an organization formed to promote safer chemicals. It provides access to numerous resources including completed green screen and QCAT assessments for a number of chemicals.
The Substitution Support Portal, or Subsport, provides research on safer alternative chemical replacements for hazardous substances in the workplace and at home. Users can access case studies that identify safer alternatives for a variety of chemicals such as solvents and coatings.