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Use 3E Exchange to look at Safer Chemical Alternatives
Use 3E Exchange to look at Safer Chemical Alternatives

Getting started assessing alternatives? 3E Exchange has tools to help.

Evelyn Ritter avatar
Written by Evelyn Ritter
Updated over a week ago

Getting started looking at safer alternative chemicals may seem like a daunting task, but we specifically built 3E Exchange to support that work. By getting started with a few simple steps, you will be on your way towards a safer chemical library in no time. We will start with the end in mind, at comparing information from already gathered data, and then work backwards to identifying the priority chemicals for replacement and collecting the data needed for analysis. 

Comparing chemicals, materials, and products 

You can now easily see a summary of all the lists, H-codes and hazard endpoints associated with 2-10 material or products, and all the chemicals included in that material.

First, select the materials or products you would like to review. Then select the Hazards Dashboard from the Actions dropdown:

Then, you will see a summary view that shows the lists, H-codes, and hazard table summarizing the hazards that exist for all the chemicals in the listed materials. You can also filter by any of the data points, such as carcinogenicity or a specific list.

You can also compare just two materials, side-by-side. Within 3E Exchange, you simply need to select the two materials from your library that you would like to compare, and then use the Material Actions and select Compare. 

From there you’ll be able to see which chemicals are common to both and which are unique. Each chemicals’ Greenscreen score is visible and shown as part of a pie chart.  Based on the comparison below, the new foam seems like a much better option. 

Similarly, you can compare entire products using this comparison, either by their chemicals or their materials. This can be helpful for determining the differences in material health between two different products in the same category. You can also use this to determine if two different products are similar enough in chemical makeup to be on the same Declare label or HPD. 

Finally, you can also compare the hazard data of two different chemicals. If you are, for example, looking at directly changing out one flame retardant from another, you can create a chemical comparison to show the relatively hazard data of each. 

Identifying your Priority Chemicals for Improvement

Once you have your product database built in 3E Exchange, you will be able to quickly and easily identify your worst chemicals that are ripe for replacement. These candidates for improvement are going to be your largest priority to substitute based on either their hazard or regulatory profile. You’ll have to identify internally what your priority lists of chemicals of concern are, but for most companies, a good place to start is those with the highest Greenscreen score. 

Using 3E Exchange Portfolio, you can create a view of all your substances, and order by various attributes to prioritize them. In this example, I used percent by weight information in my BOMs, so the chemicals most commonly used will be available by count. If your BOMs are instead organized by weight, use the weight attribute to organize your most commonly used chemicals. In the dashboard below, you can see that ethylbenzene would be a great chemical to target because it is used in 5 products and materials, and it is a LT-1 chemical. 

Create a prioritized substances view by using the following settings in the dashboard set-up: 

Then sort first by count or weight, followed by overall score. 

Collecting your Chemical Data

In order to choose safer alternatives, you have to know the chemicals and materials used in your products. Some of that data will come from internal stakeholders in your company. For example, you might need to request a bill of materials from your engineering or operations departments. Most formats you can upload straight into 3E Exchange. From there, the next place to go might be your safety department, who should be able to provide you SDS sheets that can be parsed by 3E Exchange for each material. You may need some additional more detailed information, which you can then request from suppliers using supplier surveys.

Whether you are just starting out trying to improve your product chemistry, or you are getting deep into the process, organizing your data and being able to quickly assess it is key to success. At 3E Exchange, we want to enable less material accounting work through automation and better data storage, and more time to research and select safer alternatives. 

Have questions on how to complete these steps? Reach out to or use the chat box at the bottom right hand corner of the screen. 

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