Chemical substitution is a key tool for pollution prevention. Below, you’ll find links to some key resources to help you assess less toxic alternatives to industrial chemicals, as well as an example of how one technical assistance program used alternatives assessment to identify less toxic degreasers.
SUBSPORT: Substitution Support Portal
SUBSPORT is a free-of-charge, multilingual platform for information exchange on alternative substances and technologies, as well as tools and guidance for substance evaluation and substitution management. It includes:
- a structured presentation of legal information on substitution throughout the European Union and, in part, on an international and national level
- a database of restricted and priority substances that are legally or voluntarily restricted or subjects of public debates (only in English)
- a compilation of prevalent criteria for the identification of hazardous substances
- a description of existing substitution tools to compare and assess alternative substances and technologies
- a database comprising case stories from companies and literature with general information on alternatives to the use of hazardous substances and detailed alternative assessment reports for 10 substances or substance groups of high concern each including up to five essential applications (only partly translated to French, German and Spanish)
- substitution training programs (alternatives identification and assessment training)
- interactive elements for discussion, networking, and exchange of information and experience as well as for portal updates
Program for Assisting the Replacement of Industrial Solvents (PARIS III)
PARIS III, developed by U.S. EPA, is a desktop/laptop application that allows users to find mixtures of solvents with specific physical and chemical properties that also have relatively low environmental impacts. The software helps users find replacements for solvent mixtures that are currently being used in industrial processes but have dangerous environmental side effects. The software can also be used to find solvents with lower environmental impact when designing new industrial processes, as well as more benign solvents that can be added to harmful solvents favored by industry to help reduce the harmful environmental impact of their processes.
The CleanerSolutions Database, developed by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, helps users select an alternative cleaner that meets their needs. The information is based on lab testing done by TURI. Use the tool to find a cleaner for a particular contaminant; replace a solvent; identify products based on safety and environmental criteria; and search by vendor information.
P2OASys Tool to Compare Materials
Sometimes changing chemicals or processes can have unintended environmental and health impacts. TURI’s P2OASys is an Excel based tool that allows companies to assess the potential environmental, worker, and public health impacts of alternative technologies aimed at reducing toxics use. The goal is more comprehensive and systematic thinking about the potential hazards posed by current and alternative processes identified during the TUR planning process. The tool can help companies:
- Systematically examine the potential environmental and worker impacts of options, examining the total impacts of process changes, rather than simply those of chemical changes
- Compare options with current processes based on quantitative and qualitative factors.
Chemical Hazard Assessment Database
The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) Chemical Hazard Assessment Database enables users to search for GreenScreen® and Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT) assessments. The purpose of this tool is to promote awareness of assessments conducted on chemicals of high concern, facilitate transparency and discussion, and reduce duplication of effort. IC2 also has alternatives assessment resources, including a guide and links to other assessment materials.
Safer Chemical Ingredients List
The Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL)is a list of chemical ingredients, arranged by functional-use class, that U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Program has evaluated and determined to be safer than traditional chemical ingredients. This list is designed to help manufacturers find safer chemical alternatives that meet the criteria of the Safer Choice Program. Safer Choice also has other resources available for manufacturers.
Environmental, Health and Safety Data Resources
Although chemical manufacturers provide material safety data sheets with their chemicals, sometimes this information isn’t enough. TURI’s librarian created this guide to assist in researching environmental, health and safety information for chemicals.
Pollution Prevention 101 LibGuide: Green Chemistry & Green Engineering
Tools for TAPs LibGuide: Chemical/Materials Substitution Tools
Technical Assistance Case Study
Degreasing: Finding Safer Products That Work
The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) received funding from U.S. EPA to help businesses reduce the use of degreasing solvents while maintaining effectiveness and without increasing costs. You can find information about the project on MnTAP’s website. For a deeper dive into how they implemented the project, see their presentation from the Triple Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable.