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2023 Champions of Toxics Use Reduction

Six Massachusetts Businesses and Organizations Recognized for Reducing Their Toxic Footprint

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute’s event recognized outstanding leaders who are making the Commonwealth a safer place for all residents to live, work, learn and play by reducing reliance on toxic chemicals.

BOSTON, MA — On June 20th, 2023, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) hosted its annual Champions of Toxics Use Reduction Ceremony at the Massachusetts state house. Six businesses and organizations in the Commonwealth received citations for their projects that reduced the use of hazardous, toxic chemicals and create a safer world for their employees, communities, and customers.

Governor Healey proclaimed June 20th as Champions of Toxics Use Reduction Day to honor the 2023 Champions of Toxics Use Reduction: Conklin Office Furniture, Donoma Gymnastics, Nantucket PFAS Action Group & Firefighter Partners, S.E. Shires, Steel Art, and Transene Company with their UMass Lowell research partners.

These projects have eliminated the use of more than 6,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, equating to tens of thousands of dollars in cost savings, and will result in a healthier environment for more than 300,000 individuals — including more than 12,000 first responders in Massachusetts.

At the event, Massachusetts legislators and administration and university officials presented the awards, including Representative Daniel Cahill, House chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Undersecretary for Environment Stephanie Cooper, Speaker Pro Tempore Representative Kate Hogan, MassDEP Commissioner Bonnie Heiple, and Dr. Anne Maglia, Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Across the country, government regulations on toxic chemicals are insufficient at best, and many businesses rely on hazardous chemicals that pose risks to workers, communities, and the environment. But the TURA law, unique to Massachusetts, has demonstrated success in helping businesses avoid toxics.

  • Conklin Office Furniture, a manufacturer of refurbished furniture in Holyoke, is working with TURI and OTA to find safer alternatives for cleaning solvents and adhesives, including those using traditional neurotoxic and carcinogenic solvents such as methylene chloride.
  • To provide a healthier environment for staff, children, and families while maintaining fire safety, Donoma Gymnastics eliminated unnecessary flame retardants from their foam pit cubes.
  • Brass musical instrument manufacturer S.E. Shires implemented a new ultrasonic cleaning process that completely eliminates the use of TCE, a carcinogenic solvent, as part of a decade-long commitment to find safer ways to produce brass instruments.
  • Steel Art Company, an architectural quality signage manufacturer, identified alternatives to a solvent blend of n-propyl bromide (nPB) and isopropyl alcohol (IPA); eliminating workplace carcinogens and neurotoxins by switching to a safer, aqueous cleaner and a new cleaning system.
  • The Nantucket PFAS Action Group and firefighters in Fall River, Hyannis, and Nantucket will protect the health of first responders by educating firefighters about PFAS in turnout gear and working toward safer alternatives and practices.
  • Transene Company, which has customers in industries such as radio frequency and microwave chips, lasers, photronics, aerospace and defense, worked with researchers at UMass Lowell and switched to using new, safer etching products without PFAS.