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July 2007 - Higher and Lower Hazard Chemicals

Briefing for TURA Administrative Council - July 2007

How the Higher Hazard Chemicals are Selected

Under the amended TURA statute, the Science Advisory Board (SAB) is responsible for recommending up to 10 chemicals per year as higher hazard substances. The SAB makes their recommendations to the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) based upon science, TURI then conducts a policy review and makes recommendations to the Administrative Council based on both the science and policy implications.

It is the responsibility of the Administrative Council to make the final designations of higher and lower hazard substances. The TURA Amendments state that for the higher hazard substances, the Council shall first consider those chemicals previously defined by the SAB as "Category 1: more hazardous chemicals." These previously defined lists were developed by the SAB several years ago to provide guidance to the program and firms in setting priorities.

To categorize the chemicals, the SAB uses a defined set of hazard data along with the DELPHI expert judgment method. In making recommendations for the initial higher hazard substance designations, each member picked 10 chemicals from the more hazardous list that they considered the highest hazard. The chemicals were then discussed in order of most votes to determine the following list of 11 for policy review at TURI. Based on the policy analyses, the Institute will recommend up to 10 to the Administrative Council for designation as higher hazard substances.

  • TCE: TCE (trichloroethylene) is persistent and a probable human carcinogen.
  • PCE: PCE, or "perc" (perchloroethylene) is persistent and a possible human carcinogen.
  • Cyanide Compounds: Cyanide compounds are acutely toxic.
  • Hydrogen Cyanide: Hydrogen Cyanide is acutely toxic and persistent.
  • Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen and is highly toxic.
  • Arsenic Compounds: Arsenic Compounds are a known human carcinogen, a neurotoxin, and are highly toxic.
  • Benzene: Benzene is a known human carcinogen, is a developmental and reproductive toxin and is persistent.
  • Chlorine: Chlorine is persistent and toxic and has a low RfD (reference dose).
  • Ethylene Oxide: Ethylene Oxide is a probable carcinogen and is persistent
  • Nickel Compounds: Nickel Compounds are a known human carcinogen.
  • Cadmium Compounds: Cadmium Compounds are a known human carcinogen, mutagen and reproductive toxin and are highly toxic.
How the Lower Hazard Chemicals are Selected

Similarly, under the amended TURA Statute the SAB is responsible for recommending up to 10 chemicals per year as lower hazard substances. The SAB used the same process for Lower Hazard Substances as for Higher Hazard, with initial consideration of the previously defined "Category 2: Less Hazardous chemicals." There were only 22 chemicals on the Less Hazardous list to begin with and many were "CERCLA-only chemicals." TURA listed chemicals that originate only from the CERCLA list are being considered for retention or delisting under a separate provision of the 2006 TURA Amendments. Therefore, the SAB first considered whether to recommend retaining the "CERCLA only" less hazardous chemicals, then evaluated those retained as Lower Hazard Substance candidates. The following list of 11 will go through policy review at TURI.

  • N-butyl alcohol
  • Sec-butyl alcohol
  • Ethylene glycol
  • Methanol
  • Silver in alloy form
  • Zinc in alloy form
  • Acetone
  • Acetic acid(>12% concentration)
  • Isobutyl alcohol
  • Methyl Ethyl Ketone
  • Ethyl Acetate