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Formaldehyde and Hexavalent Chromium Designated as Higher Hazard Substances

Under the 2006 Amendments to the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act, the TURA Administrative Council has the authority to designate up to 10 higher hazard substances and up to 10 lower hazard substances per year. The goal of this provision is to help Massachusetts companies and communities focus their toxics use reduction efforts on those chemicals that pose the most serious threats to health and the environment.

  •  The higher hazard designation lowers the threshold for reporting, planning, and paying TURA fees to 1,000 pounds per year.
  •  The lower hazard designation eliminates the per chemical fee. Reporting and planning requirements for these chemicals are unchanged.

As of January 1, 2012, facilities in TURA-covered SIC codes that use 1,000 pounds or more of formaldehyde or hexavalent chromium and have 10 or more full time employees are subject to Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) requirements. These facilities are required to pay a fee, report on their use of listed toxic substances, and conduct toxics use reduction planning. See the press release issued by the Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs office.

Formaldehyde. As of January 1, 2012, formaldehyde (CAS #50-00-0) is now designated as a Higher Hazard Substance (HHS), with a reporting threshold of 1000 lbs.

Hexavalent chromium. The chromium category has been separated into hexavalent chromium compounds (compounds in which the chromium is in a +6 valence state), and all other chromium compounds (typically trivalent (+3), but also including all other valence states). The hexavalent chromium compounds are designated as Higher Hazard Substances with a 1000 lb reporting threshold. All other chromium compounds categories still has the same reporting threshold of 25,000 lb manufactured or processed, 10,000 lb otherwise used.

These reporting changes, as well as the addition of 16 substances which were added to the US EPA TRI list in 2011, take effect with reporting year 2012, which will be reported to MassDEP by July 1, 2013.

Find out more in the Frequently Asked Questions and guidance in the right column. For questions, contact the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at 978-934-3275.