Finding and adopting safer alternatives to toxic chemicals is a core aspect of toxics use reduction.
An alternatives assessment looks comprehensively at the uses of chemicals of concern, and the availability of safer, technically feasible and affordable alternatives. These alternatives may be chemical substitutions, but may also be modifications to processes or product redesigns that facilitate the shift to safer processes and products.
TURI collaborates with academic partners, other US state and federal agencies, and international organizations to develop and refine alternatives assessment methods.
Supporting Research to Identify Safer Alternatives
- Since its initial work defining the alternatives assessment process as part of the 2006 Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study, TURI has conducted additional assessments, and presented on our work as well as on the methodology of TUR and alternatives assessment in numerous venues.
- TURI's Lab utilizes the Pollution Prevention Options Assessment System (P2OASys) as part of its work to identify specific safer alternatives to toxic cleaners and surface finishing formulations used by companies, institutions and households.
- TURI provides academic research grants to develop safer alternatives for specific uses of toxic chemicals
TURI Alternatives Assessment Collaborations
Lowell Center for Sustainable Production
The Lowell Center for Sustainable Production has developed its Alternatives Assessment framework with the goal of creating an open source framework for the relatively quick assessment of safer and more socially just alternatives to chemicals, materials, and products of concern. TURI collaborates with the Lowell Center, convening state and federal agency stakeholders to promote the adoption of alternatives assessments in a coordinated way.
Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse
In September 2008 representatives from a number of states gathered to discuss the need for shared resources, and to draft common language for assessing the availability of safer alternatives for chemicals of concern. TURI has led the effort by this group to create a protocol for conducting safer alternatives assessments that is being used to inform state government policies and technical assistance practices.
European Union Substitution Portal
The goal of the project is to develop an Internet portal that constitutes a state-of-the-art resource on safer alternatives to the use of hazardous chemicals. The portal is intended to support companies in fulfilling substitution requirements of EU legislation, such as those specified under the REACH authorization procedure, the Water Framework Directive or the Chemical Agents Directive. TURI and the Lowell Center provide guidance to the partners creating this powerful portal.
The Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study identified safer alternatives for priority uses of five chemicals: lead, formaldehyde, perchloroethylene, DEHP and Cr+6