HWTR Pollution Prevention

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The Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT) is a simplified assessment tool used to evaluate hazards associated with a chemical, such as whether it causes cancer, kills fish, or accumulates in people and animals. Using a standard approach to weigh these hazards means that you can compare potential chemical ingredients against each other on a level playing field.

Ecology developed the QCAT to help small- and medium-sized businesses that are new to the alternative assessment process. It is not intended as a replacement for more thorough assessment methods like the GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals, but as an introduction to the hazard assessment process.

The QCAT is based upon the GreenScreen methodology, but evaluates a smaller set of hazard endpoints. The QCAT user should understand that a QCAT assessment is not as thorough an evaluation of the hazards posed by alternatives to a toxic chemical as the GreenScreen method. However, if a chemical is found to be a poor alternative using the QCAT methodology, it will also be rejected by the GreenScreen. There remains a chance that a chemical not rejected by QCAT could still prove to be unsatisfactory if a more complete review is done using methods like the GreenScreen. QCAT does show the benefits of conducting a chemical hazard assessment and provides a good introduction to the hazard assessment process.

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In January, 2015, Ecology released the QCAT version 1.3, which includes updated data sources such as the European Union Classification and Labeling database, and a number of changes to improve the system’s consistency and ease of use.

The QCAT includes detailed information on where to find data and how to interpret what is found. It includes screen shots of many of the sources with detailed instructions on how to access pertinent information. A copy of QCAT can be found here.

It is recommended that the results of a QCAT assessment be reported in an approved format. A blank copy of the approved format can be found here while a completed example can be found here.

In some instances, Ecology can conduct QCAT assessments for Washington businesses interested in evaluating chemical alternatives. Email greenchemistry@ecy.wa.gov for more information.

Ecology occasionally offers free chemical hazard assessment trainings using the QCAT methodology. You can find these trainings on our Upcoming Events calendar under “An Introduction to Chemical Hazard Assessment.” You can also email greenchemistry@ecy.wa.gov and we will notify you when training is scheduled.