Assessing chemical hazard
Do you have concerns about the safety of the chemicals your company uses? Are the potential alternatives really any safer? Reviewing safety data and conducting a hazard assessment can help you answer those challenging questions.
Chemical hazard databases
Several organizations have developed databases to help identify the impacts chemicals have on human health and the environment. These databases are excellent places to start learning more about the potential impacts of chemicals you use. Two of the most helpful are:
Chemical hazard assessments
Chemical hazard assessments collect the impact data from different sources to give each chemical a grade or score. These assessments give users a consistent way to compare one chemical against another. Ecology recommends two chemical hazard assessment methods:
If your business is serious about addressing the impacts from chemicals it uses, Ecology staff can help you conduct chemical hazard assessments. Contact Brian Penttila at 360-407-6758 for assistance.
You can also search the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) Chemical Hazard Assessment Database (CHAD) to find free completed QCATs and other chemical hazard assessments.
Not all hazard assessments are equal
The graphic to the right shows different tools for screening and assessing chemical hazards. Safety Data Sheets (SDS)—formerly known as MSDS—are the traditional starting place for assessing chemical hazards, but provide limited information. Screening tools like ChemHAT and Pharos can help you dig a little deeper and identify problematic chemicals, while QCAT and GreenScreen® provide in-depth assessments.
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