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Alternatives assessment and substitution of harmful chemicals

Why is the substitution of hazardous chemicals important?

Replacing harmful products with safer ones is one of the most effective ways to eliminate or reduce exposure to toxic or other hazardous products. Chemical alternatives assessments are a process that can help identify and compare potential chemical and non-chemical alternatives that can be used as substitutes to replace chemicals.

Why is the substitution of hazardous chemicals important?

Replacing harmful products with safer ones is one of the most effective ways to eliminate or reduce exposure to toxic or other hazardous products. Chemical alternatives assessments are a process that can help identify and compare potential chemical and non-chemical alternatives that can be used as substitutes to replace chemicals.

What's an Alternatives Assessment?

As interest in the substitution of harmful chemicals continues to grow in industry, NGOs and the public sector, organisations are seeking guidance on the conduction of alternatives assessment and for the selection of appropriate methods and tools. The OECD is responding to this need by developing guidance documents, sharing experiences through workshops and by collecting available resources. 

Publications

This guidance aims to identify and outline key considerations for the identification and selection of safer alternatives. It is intended to advance a consistent understanding of the minimum requirements needed to determine whether a chemical alternative is safer than the priority chemical, product, or technology for substitution, independent of the entity performing the assessment or the alternatives assessment framework being used.

This report describes and gives a list of approaches developed across countries and by different stakeholders to support alternatives assessment and substitution of chemicals of concern.

This report summarises the main conclusions from the Workshop on Approaches to Support Substitution and Alternatives Assessment, organised in May 2018. The workshop discussed issues such as approaches used to support alternative assessments and substitution; the strengths of the approaches and challenges to design and implementation, the link between innovation and progress in substitution and alternatives assessment; and initiatives to facilitate data sharing and other collaborative efforts.

This report summarises the main conclusions from the Workshop on Alternatives Assessment and Substitution of Harmful Chemicals, organised in May 2015. The workshop discussed the advances in substitution and alternatives assessment; remaining gaps in terms of specific tools that could support substitution and alternatives assessment globally; the usefulness of harmonisation in specific areas; and practices for alternatives assessment and the substitution of chemicals of concerns.

This report includes definitions, principles, frameworks and tools for alternatives assessment, as well as the key drivers and audiences, and it identifies the contribution that OECD can make in this space.

OECD Substitution and Alternatives Toolbox (SAAToolbox)

TOOLS AND DATA

Tools and data sources

The tools and data sources present online resources and software that can be used in conducting chemical substitutions or alternatives assessments. The information is divided into two categories: tools, which provide users with the ability to evaluate a chemical, material, process, product and/or technology for attribute analysis with an alternatives assessment, and data sources, which contain a repository of organised information but no mechanism for data manipulation for outside users.

ACCESS THE TOOLS AND DATA SOURCES
FRAMEWORKS & GUIDES

Frameworks, 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.

ACCESS THE FRAMEWORKS, GUIDES, TOOLKITS AND PRODUCT RATING SYSTEMS
NON-HAZARD TOOLS

Non-hazard assessment tools

You will find information on tools that address cost/benefit and availability, exposure assessment, materials management and other comparative attributes of interest in an alternatives assessment.

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CASE STUDIES

Case studies of substitution

Case studies are descriptions of alternatives assessments that have been conducted by manufacturers, academic institutions, NGOs or government bodies.

©OECD

ACCESS THE CASE STUDIES

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