TURI » Our Work » Cleaning Labora... » Does It Clean » Do-it-Yourself... » Health and Safety  

Health and Safety

TURI Cleaning Lab Safety Screening

When choosing an alternative it is important that you do not shift the risk from the worker to the environment or from the environment to the worker. You want to select a product that is safer all around.

The lab conducts a preliminary screening for health and safety issues, including DIY ingredients

The lab's five environmental indicators.

 1. VOC: Volatile Organic Compounds
  •  Chemicals that evaporate easily at room temperature
  •  The term "organic" indicates that the compounds contain carbon
  •  VOC exposures are often associated with an odor while other times there is no odor
  •  There are thousands of VOCs produced and used daily
2.  GWP: Global Warming Potential
  •  Used to compare the ability of different greenhouse gases to trap heat in the atmosphere
  •  Based on heat-absorbing ability of the gas relative to base chemical => carbon dioxide (CO2)
  •  Some greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere
  •  Others result from human activities
  •  Very powerful greenhouse gases that are generated in a variety of industrial processes, including cleaning processes
3. ODP: Ozone Depletion Potential
  •  Ozone layer screens out the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation
  •  Small amounts of ozone are constantly being made by the action of sunlight on oxygen
  •  At the same time, ozone is being broken down by natural processes
  •  The total amount of ozone usually stays constant because its formation and destruction occur at about the same rate
  •  Human activity has recently changed that natural balance
  •  Certain manufactured substances can destroy stratospheric ozone much faster than it is formed
4. HMIS/NFPA: Hazardous Material Information System/ National Fire Protection Association
  •  HMIS
     
    •  Hazard Communication standard requires employers to evaluate materials and inform employees of the hazards
  •  Developed by comparing information on the health hazard, flammability, and physical hazard of the product/chemical to a set of criteria for each hazard category
  •  H: Health
  •  F: Fire
  •  R: Reactivity/Instability

Basic Rating Descriptions

Rating Health Flammability Reactivity/Physical Hazard
4 Server Hazard Deadly Flash point below 73 May detonate
3 Serious hazard Extreme danger Flash point below 100F Shock and heat may detonate
2 Moderate hazardous Hazardous Flash point below 200F Violent chemical change
1 Slight hazard Slightly hazardous Flash point ABOVE 200F Unstable if heated
0 Minimal hazard Minimal risk Will not burn Stable
 5. pH (acidity)
  •  Provides a measure on a scale from 0 to 14 of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution
  •  7 is neutral
  •  Less than 7 is acidic
  •  Greater than 7 is basic
  •  Very basic or acidic chemical likely to cause corrosion and/or tissue damage
Health & safety of store bought products

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Household Products Database allows searching for a specific product.