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Trends in the Use and Release of Carcinogens in Massachusetts

Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) is a powerful tool for cancer prevention. TUR emphasizes reducing the use of cancer causing chemicals by improving manufacturing processes and adopting safer alternatives.

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TURI recently released the report: "Opportunities for Cancer Prevention: Trends in the Use and Release of Carcinogens in Massachusetts." Download the full report.  Download the executive summary.

This report draws on 20 years of data collected from industries reporting to the Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Act program to assess trends in the use and release of chemicals associated with cancer. The analysis shows that reported use and releases of carcinogens among Massachusetts companies have decreased dramatically over time. Reported use declined 32% from 1990 to 2010, and reported releases declined 93% from 1991 to 2010.

The report also groups the chemicals by their links with eleven specific types of cancer: bladder; brain and central nervous system; breast; kidney; leukemia; liver; lung; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; pancreas; prostate; and testis. After adjusting for changes in chemical reporting requirements, reductions in use and environmental releases were observed for all these groups of carcinogens. 

Despite this significant progress, Massachusetts companies continue to use large amounts of carcinogens in some applications, pointing to the need for additional TUR efforts. In 2010, reported use of known or suspected carcinogens under TURA was over 300 million pounds, and reported releases were over 500,000 pounds.

This report uses data submitted under TURA to analyze use and release patterns for chemicals associated with cancer. The report is intended as a resource both for professionals working in the area of toxics use reduction and for those working in the area of cancer prevention.