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Chemical Hazard Assessment Methodologies
Chemical Hazard Assessment Methodologies

The different methodologies for assessing chemicals hazards

Bill Hoffman avatar
Written by Bill Hoffman
Updated over a week ago

U.S. EPA Design for Environment (DfE)

The U.S. EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) Program developed the Alternatives Assessment Criteria for Hazard Evaluation as a transparent tool for evaluating and differentiating among chemicals based on their human health and environmental hazards. The DFA method defined the majority of hazard endpoints and the concept of a hazard table that are used by other methods.  DfE does not provide a single score based on the hazard endpoints.  DfE is not currently supported by 3E Exchange.

GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals

GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals is a method for chemical hazard assessment developed by the NGO Clean Production Action and designed to identify chemicals of high concern and safer alternatives. GreenScreen is comprised of three main steps: assess and classify hazards, assign a GreenScreen Benchmark™ score, and make informed decisions. To assess and classify hazards, list-based information and the scientific literature are reviewed and hazard scores assigned to 18 human health and environmental endpoints. A set of criteria are then applied to derive a single score. Results of this evaluation are summarized in a GreenScreen Assessment. GreenScreen is currently supported by 3E Exchange. Scores include: 

  • Benchmark-1 – "Avoid: Chemical of High Concern"

  • Benchmark-2 – Use but search for Safer Substitutes

  • Benchmark-3 – Use but still opportunity for improvement

  • Benchmark-4 – "Prefer: Safer Chemical"

  • Benchmark-U –"Unspecified" denotes that a chemical has too many data gaps to position it as any of the other benchmarks.

GreenScreen List Translator™

Clean Production Action also developed an abbreviated version of the GreenScreen method called the GreenScreen List Translator™. The GreenScreen List Translator provides a “list of lists” approach to quickly identify chemicals of high concern.  It does this by scoring chemicals based on information from over 40 hazard lists developed by authoritative scientific bodies convened by international, national and state governmental agencies, intergovernmental agencies and NGOs. While List Translator provides an effective way to screen out known hazardous chemicals, an assessment based on GreenScreen is more comprehensive and can be used to identify safer alternatives. List Translator is currently supported by 3E Exchange.
Scores include:

  • A List Translator score of "LT-1" means the hazard classifications for a given chemical meet one or more of the GreenScreen Benchmark-1 criteria and would most likely be a Benchmark-1 chemical.  

  • A List Translator score of "LT-P1" means the chemical is a "possible benchmark 1". Further research is needed to determine if the chemical is indeed a GreenScreen Benchmark-1.

  • A List Translator score of "LT-UNK"  or "unknown" indicates that although the chemical was present on a list, there is insufficient information to know if the chemical is likely or possibly a chemical of high concern…or if indeed it is a safer chemical.

Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT)

QCAT was developed by the Washington Department of Ecology as a method for small and medium businesses. QCAT is based on GreenScreen methodology and follows a similar approach to derive an aggregate score, but evaluates a smaller set of hazard endpoints and uses a smaller set of data. GreenScreen Assessments should be considered preferred to QCAT assessments due to their broader scope.  QCAT is owned and maintained by the Washington Department of Ecology.  QCAT is currently supported by 3E Exchange and scores include Grade A, Grade B, Grade C, Grade F and Grade Fdg (data gap).

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