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UMass Lowell's Toxics Use Reduction Institute Five Chemicals Study Reveals Practical Alternatives for Massachusetts Industry and Consumers

Lowell, July 6, 2006--The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell identified safer alternatives to five hazardous chemicals as published in a recent report, the Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts commissioned the Study to carefully consider whether less toxic alternatives were available for lead, formaldehyde, perchloroethylene, hexavalent chromium, and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP).

The study results are expected to help the dry cleaning, wire and cable, metal finishing, healthcare, cosmetology and other industries make informed choices by presenting the latest emerging data about alternatives.

TURI conducted an alternatives assessment comparing the five chemicals with approximately 100 alternatives within 16 applications. For example, formaldehyde, a known cause of cancer in humans and used by beauty and barber shops as a sanitizer, was compared to two alternatives' Ultra Violet light cabinets and storing implements in a dry, disinfected covered container without formaldehyde.

In every application studied, at least one alternative was identified that was commercially available, was likely to meet the technical requirements of some users, and was likely to have reduced environmental and occupational health and safety impacts.

"The scientific assessment that TURI took on provides all of us, legislators, consumers, and industry--with critical information that will lead us to selecting safer substitutions that makes sense for our individual situations," said Massachusetts Senator Pamela Resor.

TURI selected the uses to be studied based on the importance to Massachusetts industry and consumers, the likely availability of alternatives, and the extent of possible exposures for workers and the general population. The inclusive process included feedback from Massachusetts companies, government, non-government organizations and industry associations.

"The collaborative process accomplished so much more than a report. Because TURI worked with all impacted Massachusetts industries and other stakeholders, we now have a solid platform of research to create academic, industry, and community partnerships in the pursuit of new technological processes for Massachusetts manufacturers," said David Wawer, CEO of the Massachusetts Chemistry & Technology Alliance.

The Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study does not draw conclusions or rank alternatives, yet the information is extensive so that companies and consumers can use it as a basis to assess alternatives for their own particular application.

2006 Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study

Overview of the Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study. 2006. Read more...

Executive Summary

  Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study Executive Summary. Download PDF file (371.96 kB)