Risk management of chemicals

Chemical substitution frameworks and guides, toolkits and product rating systems


You will find a number of frameworks and guides developed by various organisations in response to regulations of chemical substances and stakeholder interest in having consistent approaches to evaluate alternatives. Frameworks differ in terms of the attributes addressed and the methodologies used.


Frameworks and guides

Organisation Type Organisation name Title Description
Academia Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) Alternatives Assessment Guidance Appendix A. Alternatives Assessment Process Guidance is the result of a 2006 study by TURI to assess the suitability of alternatives to five common hazardous chemicals using a novel framework. The guide focuses on economic feasibility and does not provide measure for the relative safety of alternatives.
Academia University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Sustainability Technology & Policy Program Developing Regulatory Alternatives Analysis Methodologies for the California Green Chemistry Initiative
(Available upon request to the DTSC here)
Developing Regulatory Alternatives Analysis Methodologies for the California Green Chemistry Initiative is a report developed under UCLA's Sustainable Technology & Policy Program to assist in alternatives analysis as required by the California Green Chemistry Initiative (AB 1879). Utilising multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) as an assessment aid, the report explains the application of this methodology to the assessment of chemical alternative case studies for two popular industrial uses: garment cleaning and lead solder in electronics.
Government European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Guidance on the preparation of an application for authorisation The Guidance on the Preparation of an Application for Authorization document is intended to assist Stakeholders in the preparation of documents when sponsoring novel chemicals for authorisation in the EU. While this guide cannot be considered a complete interpretation of legal obligations under REACH legislation, it is part of a series of guides intended to simplify compliance and should be considered a component of a complete alternatives assessment.
Government  European Commission Minimising chemical risk to workers' health and safety through substitution Minimising Chemical Risk to Workers' Health and Safety Through Substitution presents a study on alternatives to hazardous substances that focuses on the implications of health and safety risks to workers in the EU. Recognising the need for unification in the goal of hazardous substance substitution, this study identifies challenges and commonalities amongst organisations seeking to reduce risks to social and environmental health.
Government German Federal Environment Agency Guide on Sustainable Chemicals The Guide on Sustainable Chemicals promotes the consistent application of green chemistry principles by producers, engineers, and end-users by creating a systematic framework. This document provides special focus on relatively new concepts such as life-cycle analysis, social responsibility, and problematics in the inherent physiochemical properties of hazardous substances.
Government Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Ontario Reference Tool for Assessing Safer Chemical Alternatives Ontario Toxics Reduction Program: Reference Tool for Assessing Safer Chemical Alternatives is a comprehensive document that provides an analysis of many hazardous chemical alternative assessment strategies. Incorporating principles from other programs such as hazard reduction, flexibility, and green chemistry, it provides a suite of resources for chemical alternatives assessments.
Government Texas Commission on Environmental Control Selecting Target Chemicals of Concern Written for determining chemicals of concern for Texas' Risk Reduction Program, this guidance document can help users to determine the potential impacts of a chemcial by examining its inherent characteristics.
Government U.S. EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) Chemical Alternatives Assessment: Enabling Substitution to Safer Chemicals Chemical Alternatives Assessment: Enabling Substitution to Safer Chemicals by toxicologist Dr. Emma Lavoie is an analysis of EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) program and the evolving roles of chemical alternative analysis (CAA) in managing risk assessment. The implementation of chemical alternatives in the past has occasionally led to regrettable results that could have been foreseen with more thorough analysis. This report incorporates case studies of some common industrial chemicals to measure the technical, functional, and economic feasability of safer alternatives.
Government U.S. EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) Alternatives Assessment Criteria for Hazard Evaluation Design for the Environment (DfE) Program Alternatives Assessment Criteria for Hazard Evaluation is a chemical hazard assessment guide produced by the US EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention & Toxics. The guide focuses on environmental toxicity, fate, and the physiochemical properties that present inherent safety risks. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are convened to determine the functionality of substitutes and to appoint high-risk chemicals; therefore, the document is subject to revision. Last updated August 2011.
Government U.S. EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment - A Methodology and Resource Guide  Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment (CTSA): A Methodology and Resource Guide was developed by The University of Tennessee Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies in 1996 and is an early contribution to the modern Design for the Environment Program Alternatives Assessment Criteria for Hazard Evaluation. This web-based series of documents utilizes an information module approach to provide a systematic basis for the assessment of hazardous chemical alternatives.
Government United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) General Guidance on Considerations Related to Alternatives and Substitutes for Listed Persistent Organic Pollutants and Candidate Chemicals General Guidance on Considerations Related to Alternatives and Substitutes for Listed Persistent Organic Pollutants and Candidate Chemicals is a brief guidance document prepared by the ad-hoc working group on substitution and alternatives of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee of the Stockholm Convention. The document assists in the identification of alternatives to chemicals listed in the annexes of the Stockholm Convention that are technically, socially, and economically feasible.
Government University of California, Santa Barbara Safer Product Alternatives Analysis (SPAA): Methods, Models, and Tools Safer Product Alternatives Analysis (SPAA): Methods, Models and Tools is a document prepared by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for California's Department of Toxic Substances Control. In an effort to reduce the impact of qualitative data on alternative chemical assessments and to provide broader applicability, SPAA incorporates alternatives assessment, life-cyle analysis, green chemistry, and feasibility into the decision-making process.
Industry German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Technical Rule for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) 600 "Substitution" The Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) 600 “Substitution” created by the German Committee on Hazardous Substances assists employers in the prevention of employee exposure to hazardous substances and encourages processes that result in less hazardous working conditions.
Industry Lowell Center for Sustainable Production Lowell Center Alternatives Assessment Framework Open source framework for the assessment of safer alternatives to chemicals, materials, and products of concern
Industry  Lowell Center for Sustainable Production Designing Safer Alternatives: Chemicals, Materials and Products Designing Safer Alternatives: Chemicals, Materials and Products is a summary report of a 2004 meeting between 40 North American and European experts in alternatives assessment, life-cycle assessment, policy, and substitution. The report contains summations of alternatives assessments prepared for the meeting and notes from three break-out sessions that ultimately led to the development of the Alternatives Assessment Framework.
Industry Lowell Center for Sustainable Production Framing a Safe Chemicals Future - 2005 Framing a Safe Chemicals Future is a brief report on "Framing a Future Chemicals Policy," a forum discussion held in Boston in 2005. Focusing on Green Chemistry and stakeholder involvement, this report describes the outcomes of the forum and avenues that major manufacturers have taken to become more sustainable.
Industry  Lowell Center for Sustainable Production Alternatives Assessment Framework of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production Alternatives Assessment Framework of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, prepared by the Lowell Center’s Chemicals Policy Initiative, provides guidance to encourage global innovation in green chemistry and to provide a dynamic support tool for decision-makers involved in the regulation of hazardous chemicals and their alternatives. Comprised of three core elements that encourage the transparency of qualitative input and the consideration of social preferences, the framework utilises a modular approach to evaluate the hazardous properties of chemicals with publically-available tools.
Industry Outdoor Industry Association Chemicals Management Working Group and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Programme Using Chemical Hazard Assessment for Alternative Chemical Assessment and Prioritization Using Chemical Hazard Assessment for Alternative Chemical Assessment and Prioritization, prepared by the Outdoor Industry Association Chemicals Management Working Group and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Programme, identifies essential attributes of hazardous chemical assessment and methods of prioritisation. The guide suggests solutions to data gaps, reputable references for hazard endpoint data, and provides references to several popular screening tools.
Industry Substitution Support Portal (SUBSPORT) Substitution Steps Substitution Steps by Substitution Support Portal (SUBSPORT) is a six-step web-based guide that can be used as a quick screening tool to assess the suitability of hazardous chemical alternatives. The guide provides a collection of internal and external tools to assist in each step of the evaluation of alternatives with a focus on safety, practicality, and continued improvement.
Non-profit BizNGO The BizNGO Chemical Alternatives Assessment Protocol The Chemical Alternatives Assessment Protocol by BizNGO provides a framework to guide users when making decisions to replace chemicals that cause harm to human or environmental health. The processes described provide direction in the assessment of chemicals of concern and help to avoid the substitution of equally harmful alternatives. An analysis of technical and economic feasibility assists in the decision-making process.
Non-profit BizNGO The Guide to Safer Chemicals The Guide to Safer Chemicals is intended to ease the transition to less harmful chemical alternatives. The BizNGO Principles for Safer Chemicals consists of four components that provide benchmarks for performance that can be measured individually and against those of other organisations. This guide can be used to identify areas of improvement, track progress in substitution scenarios, and provide a metric for the measurement of corporate sustainability.
Non-profit Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) IC2 Alternatives Assessment Guide The IC2 Alternatives Assessment Guide, prepared by the Technical Alternative Assessment Guide Team at the Washington State Department of Ecology, is a very comprehensive document that provides a framework for chemical alternative assessment. It contributes a suite of external screening tools and incorporates principles such as hazard reduction, transparency, flexibility, and green chemistry into the assessment process.
Non-profit National Academy of Sciences (NAS) A Framework to Guide Selection of Chemical Alternatives This guide to alternatives assessment was developed after reviewing existing guides. It is a 13 step approach that incorporates existing protocols with new components that were missing in previous guides or that NAS felt have not been addressed sufficiently.
Non-profit National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Sustainability Concepts in Decision-Making This report examines scientific tools and approaches for incorporating sustainability concepts into assessments used to support EPA decision making. Using specific case studies, this report considers the application of analytic and scientific tools, methods, and approaches presented in the 2011 NRC report, Sustainability and the U.S. EPA.



Toolkits are websites that contain a variety of information related to safer chemical substitutions and alternatives assessments.

Organisation Toolkit Name Description
ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) and INRS (French Institute for Research and Security A Tool to Support the Substitution of CMR Substances This French website was developed by ANSES and INRS. This website focuses on CMR chemicals, and is a database for information about these chemicals and a database for chemical alternatives for CMR. The alternatives database is compiled from industry experience, research and data found in the literature.
ChemHAT Chemical Hazard and Alternatives Toolbox An internet portal containing information about hazardous chemicals and safer alternatives, focusing on workplace safety, and includes a searchable chemical hazard database
ECHA: European Chemicals Agency Adopted opinions and previous consultations on applications for authorisation This tool is a repository of applications for authorization to start or continue using a substance submitted to the ECHA’s Committees, including a variety of substances, uses, and the decision made by the Commission. The application for authorization includes an Analysis of Alternatives.
ECHA: European Chemicals Agency Adopted opinions on restriction proposals Analysis of alternatives performed in the context of REACH restriction proposals. Restrictions limit or ban the manufacture or use of substances in the EU that pose risks to human health and the environment.
EcoValuate EcoValuate Alternatives Assessment Software © This tool allows users to visually evaluate complex information about environmental constraints involved in alternatives assessments and alternative product development strategies.
French National Institute for Industrial Safety and Environment Protection (INERIS) National Helpdesk: Chemicals Substitution This tool is a repository of case studies, relevant regulations, current news, and potential alternatives to bisphenols and phthalates.
Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) GC3 Retailer Portal A database of tools that enable retailers to evaluate chemicals or chemical-containing products for their potential human health and environmental impacts
Health Care Without Harm Nurses Safer Chemicals Toolkit Developed by Health Care Without Harm in conjunction with the Nurses Workgroup to address health risks of hazardous chemicals
IRSST (Quebec Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute Robert-Sauve) Solub, Solvent Substitution Process in the Workplace The French website Solub proposes a systematic workplace solvent substitution process. It is intended for health and safety professionals who want to carry out an organic solvent substitution project. This substitution process may lead to the implementation of a solution adapted to the user’s workplace. The site also proposes practical tools, relevant resources and concrete examples.
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Transitioning to Safer Chemicals A step-by-step toolkit developed by the OSHA to provide employers and workers with information, methods, tools, and guidance on using informed substitution in the workplace
State of Washington Department of Ecology Waste & Toxics Initiative As part of its Waste & Toxics Initiative, the Department of Ecology has compiled various sources of information on selecting safer chemical alternatives
SUBSPORT Substitution Support Portal (SUBSPORT) A web-based portal containing information on substituting safer chemicals for hazardous ones: substitution steps, legislation (EU), hazardous chemical databases, substitution tools and case studies


Product Rating Systems


Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Registry Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute This tool is a database of products that have been certified as “sustainable” being evaluated against 5 categories. An aggregated score is calculated. The products are ranked using five ranking categories: platinum, gold, silver, bronze and basic for each categorical score. Each of the 5 impact categories are ranked and an overall ranking is calculated.
GreenBlue® CleanGredients® CleanGredients® was developed by GreenBlue® to help cleaning product formulators identify environmentally friendly ingredients and allow manufacturers to showcase their ingredients. CleanGredients® is a subscription-based online database with 12 cleaning product ingredient categories: chelating agents, colorants, defoamers, enzymes, fragrances, oxidants, polymers, preservatives and antioxidants, processing aids, solvents, starter formulations, and surfactants. Non-subscribers have partial access to website information. Ingredient formulation and attribute claims are verified by an approved third-party.
Healthy Buildings Network Pharos Project This data source is for building materials evaluations and is divided into three parts: building materials library, chemical/materials library and certification information. The building materials library contains products that are scored in 5 categories (see Hazard Endpoints) separately (no aggregate score). The chemical and materials library rates each entry on individual health and environmental impacts of throughout their lifecycle (if applicable) – no aggregate score. Also, not every entry contains comprehensive data. Pharos also contains a database of second and third party certifications and identifies building products that have been certified; certification is one criterion in the scoring system.
U.S. EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) Branch Safer Choice Program The U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Program helps businesses, consumers, and institutional buyers identify cleaning and other products that have met stringent criteria for health and environmental safety. The Safer Choice label on a product means that the EPA scientific review team has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that — based on the best currently available information, EPA predictive models, and expert judgment — the product contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class. A list of chemicals that have met the Safer Choice standard is available on EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredient List (SCIL).




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