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TURI Unveils New Online Cleaning Database to Help Manufacturers Switch to Safer Chemistries

Sept. 25, 2006, Lowell, Mass. - The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell unveiled today a new surface cleaning online database called CleanerSolutions. The free, interactive web-based tool helps manufacturers find safer cleaning alternatives that perform as well as hazardous chemicals--without shifting risks.

The brainchild of TURI Manager of Laboratory Testing Jason Marshall, the database is filled with over 10 years of performance testing results combined with health and environment indicators.  The system helps companies understand that if an alternative is chosen, risks are not being shifted, for example, from the worker to the environment or vice versa.

“The reason I developed the database was because I couldn’t imagine manufacturers taking the time to weed through mounds of data to find safer cleaning products.  If companies can view hard data on how safer industrial and janitorial products perform, then they are more likely to pilot test alternatives and replace the toxic chemicals they may be using,” said Marshall.

The TURI Laboratory conducts a preliminary screening to determine a chemical’s potential risk based on five health and environmental indicators--global warming potential, ozone depletion potential, volatile organic content, flammability/reactivity and toxicity/carcinogenicity. 

William Sweetman, Director of EHS Affairs at The Top-Flite Golf Company in Chicopee, Massachusetts, is pilot testing two solutions found through the database and follow up work with the TURI Laboratory.  Sweetman has used the database to identify alternate materials to substitute for others used in the company's golf ball manufacturing process.

He also searched and found a new process for cleaning equipment parts.  Instead of soaking the parts in solvents for two days and then cleaning them with a wire brush, the company has switched to an ultrasonic cleaning process and used the database to find solutions that could work best with that technology.  Both solutions will protect workers from exposures while improving product throughput.

“Compared to what I’ve used in the past, TURI’s CleanerSolutions database was one-stop shopping,” said William Sweetman, Director, EHS Affairs at The Top-Flite Golf Co. in Chicopee, Massachusetts.  “Because of the very specific search criteria and documented testing results, it quickly brought me down the path of finding a safer process and solution for our unique needs,” continued Sweetman.

Since each manufacturer’s process and application is unique, TURI recommends pilot testing the potential replacement found in the database for both safety and performance.  Visit www.turi.org to access the free database.