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 for one or the other; ideally it would be best if the product is safer for both.
To help make this selection process easier, the lab conducts a preliminary screening of products using the lab's five environmental indicators:
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Global Warming Potential (GWPs)
- Ozone Depletion Potential (ODPs)
- Hazardous Material Information System/ National Fire Protection Association (HMIS/NFPA)
The lab feels that these indicators represent safety issues for the environment and for the worker.
Once you have selected alternative products based on laboratory performance and initial safety screening using the Simple Solutions database, you should conduct more in-depth research. For performance, remember that cleaning varies from case to case. SSL recommends process specific testing on potential replacement cleaning chemicals. For safety, further analysis should be conducted to verify that the selected products are compatible with your process and to determine if there are any health risks that the screening does not address. Some areas to look at include:
- Aquatic Toxicity
- Carcinogens, Mutagens or Teratogens
- Endocrine disruptors
- Fragrances and Dyes
- Life Cycle Assessment
- Neurotoxins/CNS Depressants
- Reproductive Toxicity