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LOWELL-- The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell identified safer alternatives to five hazardous chemicals as published in a recent report, the Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts commissioned the Study to carefully consider whether less toxic alternatives were available for lead, formaldehyde, perchloroethylene, hexavalent chromium, and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP).
The study results are expected to help the dry cleaning, wire and cable, metal finishing, healthcare, cosmetology and other industries make informed choices by presenting the latest emerging data about alternatives.
TURI conducted an alternatives assessment comparing the five chemicals with approximately 100 alternatives within 16 applications. For example, formaldehyde, a known cause of cancer in humans and used by beauty and barber shops as a sanitizer, was compared to two alternativesߞ;Ultra Violet light cabinets and storing implements in a dry, disinfected covered container without formaldehyde.
In every application studied, at least one alternative was identified that was commercially available, was likely to meet the technical requirements of some users, and was likely to have reduced environmental and occupational health and safety impacts.
“The scientific assessment that TURI took on provides all of usߞ;legislators, consumers, and industry ߝ with critical information that will lead us to selecting safer substitutions that makes sense for our individual situations,” said Massachusetts Senator Pamela Resor.
TURI selected the uses to be studied based on the importance to Massachusetts industry and consumers, the likely availability of alternatives, and the extent of possible exposures for workers and the general population. The inclusive process included feedback from Massachusetts companies, government, non-government organizations and industry associations.
“The collaborative process accomplished so much more than a report. Because TURI worked with all impacted Massachusetts industries and other stakeholders, we now have a solid platform of research to create academic, industry, and community partnerships in the pursuit of new technological processes for Massachusetts manufacturers,” said David Wawer, CEO of the Massachusetts Chemistry & Technology Alliance.
The Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Study does not draw conclusions or rank alternatives, yet the information is extensive so that companies and consumers can use it as a basis to assess alternatives for their own particular application.
To download the Executive Summary, visit www.turi.org.
The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell provides the resources and tools to help Massachusetts companies and communities make the Commonwealth a safer place to live and work. Established by the State’s Toxics Use Reduction Act of 1989, TURI provides research, training, technical support, laboratory testing services and grant programs to reduce the use of toxic chemicals while enhancing the economic competitiveness of businesses. Visit www.turi.org for more information.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental, and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students more than 80 degree programs in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management; and the School of Health and Environment and the Graduate School of Education. Visit the website at www.uml.edu.