GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals was launched in 2007. It is a method of comparative Chemical Hazard Assessment (CHA) that can be used for identifying chemicals of high concern and safer alternatives. GreenScreen was developed by and is a project of Clean Production Action and has become a widely recognised tool for assessing chemical hazards, identifying chemicals of concern, and selecting safer chemicals.
GreenScreen is part of the green building movement with its incorporation into Living Product Challenge, LEED, Health Product Declaration, and Google Portico. GreenScreen is part of safer electronics where it is used by TCO Development, HP Inc., and now on the path to being part of EPEAT. GreenScreen helps define safer chemistry in the apparel sector with its integration into Levi Strauss & Co’s “Screened Chemistry,” H&M’s manufacturing Restricted Substances List (mRSL), and as part of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals’ (ZDHC) Framework for the Prioritization of Hazardous Substances.
Read more: greenscreenchemicals
The Candidate List of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) for authorisation now contains 173 substances. ECHA has added four new SVHCs to the Candidate List. The new substances are based on proposals by France, Sweden, Germany and Austria, following the SVHC identification process with involvement of the Member State Committee.
The aim of publishing the a list of SVHC is to inform the general public and industry that these substances are candidates for possible inclusion in the Authorisation List.
In order to improve current working practices in the EU in identifying, evaluating and adopting safer alternatives and to advance substitution programs and practices among Member States and the European Commission, ECHA commissioned the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production to carry out an analysis of current capacity and needs. The study shows that REACH is an important driver for substitution of hazardous chemicals in the EU. The study identified “a number of recommendations to enhance the capacity of ECHA, EU and Member State authorities to support to the identification, evaluation, and adoption of safer substitutes. Priorities should focus on infrastructure development (including funding mechanisms), increased training and education on analysis of alternatives, and creating sustainable structures for industry and authority collaboration on substitution”.
In its resolution on the improvement of occupational health and safety in the European Union, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) called, among other issues, for the establishing of 50 binding limit values for carcinogenic substances in use at workplaces in the European Union. This publication identifies at least 70 carcinogens that are relevant for workers’ exposure via inhalation at a considerable number of workplaces in Europe and thus, for which a Binding Occupational Exposure Limits (BOEL) under the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) might be suggested.
Download the publication here
The webinar took place on 3 March 2016.The webinar was held by Ken Geiser. He introduced his book “Chemicals Without Harm” where he proposes a different strategy based on developing and adopting safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals rather than focusing exclusively on controlling them. Geiser reviews past government policies focused on controlling chemicals, describes government initiatives outside the United States that have begun to implement a more sustainable chemical policy. He develops a safer chemicals policy framework that includes processes for characterising, classifying, and prioritising chemicals; generating and using new chemical information; and promoting transitions to safer chemicals.
You can listen to the Chemicals Without Harm webinar recording.
The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) published Recommendations for Bisphenol A (BPA) risk management.
New studies suggest that BPA exposure can lead to the development of food allergies and have adverse effects on resistance to infection at lower doses than anticipated by the current European. Neonates, infants and young children are particularly susceptible to such immunological effects of BPA exposure.
The RIVM concludes that this new data warrants a reconsideration of the current standards and of the health concerns for consumers, patients and workers, who may be exposed to BPA and recommends taking supplementary measures in the near future for a further reduction of BPA exposure.
A new publication by ChemSec shows how chemical regulation creates opportunities for many progressive companies. Safer products not only have the advantage of remaining safe from potential future regulations, but are also increasingly requested by consumers and other stakeholders. The report presents several companies that offer not only safer, but also better products using non-hazardous chemicals and points out that substitution is a true driver for innovation, and can bring additional benefits.
20 companies from the Italian Prato textile district have signed up to the Greenpeace Detox campaign, which commits them to phasing out 11 chemical classes of concern, by 2020. They have set a list of all hazardous chemicals they should have eliminated from the supply chain by 2020 and have also defined shorter timelines to remove problematic hazardous chemicals including poly- and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).
The agreement will affect over 13 thousand tons of yarn and raw materials as well as over 13 million meters of fabric every year.
The Prato-based companies have already removed several hazardous chemical groups required by the Detox campaign, including brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, organotins, and amines associated with azo.
The suppliers join six major Italian textile companies, which signed up to the Detox campaign in 2014.
Go to: www.greenpeace
Replacing hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives can bring substantial benefits to the company, the environment and the health of workers and consumers – all good reasons to substitute them. ECHA and a group of accredited stakeholder organisations have organised a series of webinars aiming to inspire companies to substitute hazardous chemicals and explain how it can be done. All webinars include examples of real life substitution projects. The first webinar took place on 22. September 2015. The entire webinar can be watched here.
To access the presentations go to: echa.europa.eu
The Swedish Chemicals Agency has been assigned to produce a national programme of measures for highly fluorinated substances. As part of this task the Swedish Chemicals Agency has carried out a survey of the occurrence and use of highly fluorinated substances and alternative substances and materials. Highly fluorinated substances (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, PFAS) are used in many different articles and chemical products due to their attractive properties. They are repellent to water, grease, and dirt, temperature resistant and film-forming. However, other less desirable properties are their extreme persistence in the environment, and that several of them accumulate in living organisms and can be toxic.
The aim of the survey is to give a clearer picture of where highly fluorinated substances are currently used and what alternative substances, materials and technologies are available.
The survey is presented in this Report (English)