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Environment

New tool designed to select greener chemicals

March 26, 2007 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 85, ISSUE 13

Jackson
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Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
8513govcon_jacksoncxd.jpg
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

The nonprofit group Clean Production Action is offering a free tool to help select less toxic alternatives to some hazardous chemicals. Its new Green Screen for Safer Chemicals uses toxicity and other data to rank compounds into one of four categories: avoid; use, but search for safer substitutes; use, but opportunity for improvement; and safer chemical. Until now, such screening tools were only available as proprietary products from consulting firms, says Mark Rossi, the group's research director. Clean Production Action, which promotes the use of safer, environmentally preferable materials, unveiled the tool on March 20 to members of the Illinois General Assembly, presenting a Green Screen assessment of the widely used flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether and two alternatives to the chemical. A report describing the tool is available at www.cleanproduction.org/Green.Greenscreen.php.

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