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Risk Anal. 2015 Dec;35(12):2152-61. doi: 10.1111/risa.12507. Epub 2015 Dec 2.

The Architecture of Chemical Alternatives Assessment.

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Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, University of Massachusetts Lowell, MA, USA.
Clean Production Action, Medford, MA, USA.


Chemical alternatives assessment is a method rapidly developing for use by businesses, governments, and nongovernment organizations seeking to substitute chemicals of concern in production processes and products. Chemical alternatives assessment is defined as a process for identifying, comparing, and selecting safer alternatives to chemicals of concern (including those in materials, processes, or technologies) on the basis of their hazards, performance, and economic viability. The process is intended to provide guidance for assuring that chemicals of concern are replaced with safer alternatives that are not likely to be later regretted. Conceptually, the assessment methods are developed from a set of three foundational pillars and five common principles. Based on a number of emerging alternatives assessment initiatives, in this commentary, we outline a chemical alternatives assessment blueprint structured around three broad steps: Scope, Assessment, and Selection and Implementation. Specific tasks and tools are identified for each of these three steps. While it is recognized that on-going practice will further refine and develop the method and tools, it is important that the structure of the assessment process remain flexible, adaptive, and focused on the substitution of chemicals of concern with safer alternatives.


Alternatives assessment; chemical alternatives assessment; chemical substitution; functional use; safer alternatives


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