The Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) has released a draft guidance document for alternatives assessment and risk reduction. The public comment period continues through Friday, May 3, 2013.
The IC2 is an association of state and local governments working together to coordinate inter-agency efforts promoting the use of safer chemicals and products. Of the member states, only California currently has a robust green chemistry program. The draft Guidance for Alternatives Assessment and Risk Reduction was developed with technical support from EPA’s Design for the Environment and Clean Production Action.
The Guidance is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of users. Principles instrumental to developing the Guidance include:
- reducing risk by reducing hazards,
- transparency, and
- life cycle thinking.
The IC2 emphasizes that through life cycle thinking, users can avoid merely shifting impacts from one aspect of the product life cycle to another. The Guidance observes that only in rare instances will no safer alternatives be available.
The Guidance includes four scoping modules to help users set parameters for the scope of the alternatives assessment process and seven decision modules to evaluate criteria, ranging from performance to hazard and materials management to cost and availability. Within each module, users can select the level of complexity and corresponding data requirements appropriate to their needs and capabilities. For example, criteria in the performance module include measures that test whether potential alternatives are technically feasible. The Guidance also provides mechanisms to identify uncertainties and consider them in the decision-making process.