Tool Helps Companies Use Safer Chemicals in Products


by | Mar 8, 2016

GreenScreenIn an effort to help companies use safer chemicals, the Clean Production Action (CPA), has released the next version of the GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals Hazard Assessment Guidance, adding information for using the GreenScreen List Translator as a first step in identifying hazardous chemicals in products.

GreenScreen List Translator is a tool for identifying known chemicals of high concern to human health and the environment. Companies will now be able to rapidly assess if products contain chemical hazards such as carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, or endocrine disrupting compounds, according to CPA, an advocacy organization that promotes sustainable products and chemicals.

GreenScreen List Translator scores chemicals based on information from more than 40 hazard lists developed by authoritative scientific bodies convened by international, national and state governmental agencies and NGOs. The list includes REACH categorizations and chemical hazard classifications by countries using the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

Each of the lists specified for inclusion in the tool is mapped to hazard classifications, a hazard level or range, and a List Translator score. List Translator scores identify chemicals of highest concern to human health or the environment.

GreenScreen List Translator is one part of the GreenScreen Hazard Assessment Guidance v1.3, which details how to apply GreenScreen in assigning Benchmark scores for a chemical based on its inherent hazards.

To aid in making this tool accessible for all users of GreenScreen, the Healthy Building Network developed software to automate List Translator scoring. The Pharos Chemical & Material Library — part of a suite of tools to evaluate the health and environmental impact of building materials — provides online access to chemical hazard information.

“Pharos is a low-cost and easy-to-use database for rapidly screening chemicals,” explains Tom Lent, policy director for Healthy Building Network. “Applying GreenScreen List Translator rules results in identification of 2,700 chemicals as high concern and another 6,000 chemicals as potentially of high concern — all of which are in Pharos.”

GreenScreen List Translator takes a sizeable amount of GreenScreen complexity and simplifies it into something easy to use to identify chemicals of high concern and to do quick cross-referencing,” CPA says. It can also help companies:

  • Earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) material inventory credits;
  • Aid in the alternatives assessment process;
  • Prioritize chemicals for further review and/or phase out;
  • Assist in regulatory and non-regulatory standard compliance; and
  • Communicate materials goals and criteria to suppliers.

Through the Pharos platform, the GreenScreen List Translator supports a range of other disclosure, assessment and decision management tools, such as the Health Product Declaration(HPD) and Google’s Portico.

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