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Chemical Safety Course


With a special focus on Green Chemistry, this course will help demystify making sound economic decisions for the environment and worker health and safety.

The toxicity of solvents in the workplace and the community is well-established (re: A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr). Nevertheless, their usage continues in a number of operations, including the manufacture of many of our products. They are also used in cleaning and degreasing, in commercial and residential applications, and in janitorial services affecting public buildings such as schools, hospitals and their occupants. Moreover, hazardous chemicals' storage and transportation have additional implications following the events of 9/11.

Developed in northern Europe, this course will not only help to explain the reasons for this toxicity, but offer practical solutions for these chemicals' replacement in light of the Precautionary Principle. Because the course describes a decision-making matrix that uses state-of-the-art databases, the same principles can be applied to other processes that could be environmentally-friendlier. Consequently, it offers excellent insight into the formation of a truly viable Environmental Management System (EMS), like ISO 14000 for competitive advantage and sustainable development.


In this interactive seminar, attendees will learn:

  • How to use Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) more effectively
  • How to identify and test potential replacements for chemical hazards
  • How to measure costs of chemical usage more completely
  • How to positively interact with other stakeholders, including company management
  • How to establish a path towards continuous improvement in chemical management
  • How to successfully monitor implementation of process conversions


  • Chemical and process engineers
  • EH& S staff
  • QA/QC managers
  • Plant managers
  • Facility managers (including hospitals, schools and other public buildings)
  • Accounting/purchasing officials
  • Corporate staff
  • Government/policy specialists
  • NGOs and researchers in related fields, for example, pharmaceutical/biotech


The Search for Safer and Greener Chemical Solvents:

A Proposed Tool to Support Environmental Decision-Making

Erasmus University (Rotterdam, the Netherlands), 2001

Cost of CD included in seminar


  • General Introduction
  • The Evolution, Exposure Consequences and Regulation of Solvents
  • Water: the Universal Solvent
  • Organic and Chlorinated Solvents
  • Environmental and Health Effects: Ozone Depletion, Global Warming and Acid Rain; Habitat Impacts; Carcinogenicity and other consequences
  • Legislative Initiatives: The Montreal Protocol and the U.S. Clean Air Act
  • The Search for Safer, Greener Chemical Cleaners
  • Design for the Environment Techniques
  • Non-Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Alternative Methods
  • Developing a Test Design
  • Asking the Right Questions
  • Working with the Right People
  • Analytical Techniques
  • The Stages of Any Scientific Experiment
  • Enhancing the Search
  • Non-aqueous (i.e., non-water) Based Alternatives
  • The Method vs. The Chemical
  • The Role of Chemical Suppliers and Vendors
  • Re-design
  • The Proposed Tool for Environmental Decision-Making
  • Using Databases and Standards
  • Some Examples of Results
  • The Future and Related Public Policy-Making
  • Class-Directed Discussion May Include: Surfactants and Endocrine Disruption; Hormesis, etc.

Contact the lab to find out more on this course