Workers Health & Safety Centre

Web-based resources highlight harmful chemicals and safer alternatives

Web-based resources highlight harmful chemicals and safer alternatives

A web-based guide developed by the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) can help workplaces find safer alternatives to harmful chemicals.
 
TURI’s Environmental, Health and Safety Data Resources Guide is designed as a single access point to the many chemical substitution tools available on the internet. One such resource is the Chemical Hazard and Alternatives Toolbox (ChemHAT). This database provides detailed information about risk to human health and the environment associated with specific chemicals. From this site visitors are also directed to SUBSPORT—a web-platform designed to facilitate sharing, evaluating and steps to implementing safer chemical alternatives and technologies.
 
TURI’s internet access guide to these and other resources is divided into seven main topic areas allowing for targeted searches.

These topics include: 

  • health,
  • safety,
  • environmental,
  • regulatory/government/NGO,
  • sustainable futures,
  • alternatives, and
  • other resources.

This guide is one of many resources, tools and support services offered by TURI aimed at helping Massachusetts workplaces and communities reduce the use of harmful chemicals. In fact, TURI is required to support these efforts for many companies in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) calls on companies that use large quantities of specific toxic chemicals to meet their legal requirement to evaluate and plan for pollution prevention opportunities, implement them if practical, and annually measure and report the results.

In a Report published in 2013, TURI analyzed TURA- reported data from Massachusetts companies and found over the twenty year period ending in 2010:

  • Carcinogens use declined 32 per cent, and
  • Carcinogens released into the environment dropped by 93 per cent.

Here in Ontario, the Toxics Reduction Act requires certain businesses to track and quantify the toxic substances they use and create. They must also develop specific toxics reduction plans and make summaries of their plans available to the public. Though, implementation of the plans are not mandatory.
 
Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act does impose general and specific duties on employers and supervisors for the protection of a worker. 
 
For our part, the WHSC offers a number of training programs and resources to help workplace parties understand their legal duties and responsibilities related to workplace hazards including harmful chemicals. Many of these same programs offer essential insight into the information and tools needed to reduce or eliminate exposure to harmful chemicals.
 
To learn more:
Call:    1-888-869-7950
Visit:   www.whsc.on.ca
Email: contactus@whsc.on.ca

Want to access TURI’s Environmental, Health and Safety Data Resources Guide?