I have created a variety of tools for better decision making around chemicals, materials and products, including designing the original health rating system for GoodGuide, a consumer products ranking tool, and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Criteria for San Francisco’s Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance. I led the team to add worker health and safety and life-cycle product toxicity criteria to the B Lab Assessment for Benefit Corporations. I was part of the team at UCLA’s Sustainable Technology and Policy Program that developed a decision-making model to support the California Safer Consumer Product regulations. See the posts below for additional current and past work in this area.
Environmental & Public Health Consulting had the distinct pleasure and honor of working with a team from the UCLA Sustainable Technology and Policy Program in 2011 developing case studies to test whether complex decision-making as required for the assessment of safer alternatives under the California Safer Consumer Product Regulations was a viable option. EPHC and UCLA STPP are delighted to announce that our paper on this work was accepted for publication in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, the publication of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC.) Click on the link below to read our paper, Use of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis in Regulatory Alternatives Analysis: A Case Study of Lead-Free Solder.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), back at work after the government shutdown, has just launched a new online toolkit to help employers and workers find ways to eliminate hazardous chemicals, or substitute them with a safer chemical, material, product, or process. The resource includes information, methods, tools, and guidance on using informed substitution in the workplace. The toolkit is available at the OSHA website as is the press release. The tool that EPHC was instrumental in designing and building with the Blue Green Alliance is featured in Step 2 of the process of identifying safer alternatives, Inventory and Prioritize.
EPHC will be working with the Blue Green Alliance, United Steelworkers, Union of Food and Commercial Workers, Green Blue, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and other stakeholders to create a pilot project around Putting Breast Cancer out of Work, focusing on the food packaging and automotive plastics manufacturing sectors.
EPHC will be working with the Business-NGO Working Group for Safer Chemicals and Sustainable Materials to complete and launch the BizNGO Plastics Scorecard by June 2014.
EPHC is working with West Marine, a major retailer of boating-related products, to strengthen the criteria for the company’s Pure Oceans brand of maintenance products. Ann Blake also served as a judge for West Marine’s Green Product of the Year competition in 2012-2013.
17th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference, North Bethesda, MD, June 18, 2013
Alternatives assessment has emerged in the past decade and a half as the practical implementation of the precautionary principle. Chemical hazard assessment has developed as a key element of alternatives assessment in the context of selecting replacements for chemicals of concern. Alternatives assessment allows for not only the drop-in replacements of chemicals of concern, but also material, process and design changes to achieve the desired functionality. Assessment tools and decision-making methodologies are continuing to emerge and evolve as government and industry grapple with the appropriate criteria and acceptable trade-offs to reduce chemical impacts on human health and the environment. This presentation will provide an overview of emerging methodologies being developed to guide the identification and selection of viable replacements for chemicals of concern. These methodologies include Alternatives Assessment protocols, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, Life-Cycle Analysis or the use of life cycle considerations to inform decision-making.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Participated in workshop, with focus on Decision-Making and Weighing subgroup
The HESI Frameworks for Alternative Chemical Assessment and Selection of Safer, Sustainable Alternatives Subcommittee (a.k.a. Sustainable Alternatives Subcommittee) was initiated in 2011 as an Emerging Issues Subcommittee. Its mission is to evaluate and identify key elements/criteria and tools to help trigger and guide the selection of safer, sustainable alternatives while minimizing the likelihood of regrettable substitutions. The subcommittee is comprised of technical experts from academia, industry, non-profit organizations, and government and has been working towards holding a workshop to develop more detailed guidance for conducting alternatives assessments. Results of the workshop and of the subcommittee will be submitted for publication in a peer reviewed journal.
• Attributes beyond hazard that are also important, including life cycle assessment, exposure, risk,
performance, cost and social responsibility
• New tools for prioritization and assessment of hazard, risk and other attributes
• Making decisions with limited data and a minimum data set
• Best practices for weighing disparate attributes
• What are the data gaps and data needs
• What are solutions for missing data
Use of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis in Regulatory Alternatives Analysis: A Case Study of Lead-Free Solder
Regulators are implementing new programs that require manufacturers of products containing certain chemicals of concern to identify, evaluate and adopt viable, safer alternatives. Such programs raise the difficult question for policymakers and regulated businesses of which alternatives are “viable” and “safer.” To address that question, these programs use “alternatives analysis,” an emerging methodology that integrates issues of human health and environmental effects with technical feasibility and economic impact. Despite the central role that alternatives analysis plays in these programs, the methodology itself is neither well-developed nor tailored to application in regulatory settings. This study uses the case of lead-based bar solder and its non-lead based alternatives to examine the application of two multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) methods to alternatives analysis: multi-attribute utility analysis and outranking. It develops and evaluates an alternatives analysis methodology and supporting decision-analysis software for use in a regulatory context, using weighting of the relevant decision criteria generated from a stakeholder elicitation process. The analysis produced complete rankings of the alternatives, including identification of the relative contribution to the ranking of each of the highest level decision criteria such as human health impacts, technical feasibility and economic feasibility. It also examined the effect of variation in data conventions, weighting, and decision frameworks on the outcome. The results indicate that MCDA can play a critical role in emerging prevention-based regulatory programs. MCDA methods offer a means for transparent, objective and rigorous analysis of products and processes, providing regulators and stakeholders with a common baseline understanding of the relative performance of alternatives and the trade-offs they present. Integr Environ Assess Manag © 2013 SETAC
Accepted for publication in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, May 23, 2013 DOI: 10.1002/ieam.1449
- Timothy F. Malloy1,*, Peter J. Sinsheimer2, Ann Blake3, Igor Linkov4,5
Presented and moderated panel on alternatives assessment tools and practices at InfoCast Safer Consumer Products Summit: The Road to Product Compliance in California and Other States, San Jose, CA September 5-7, 2012
Environmental & Public Health Consulting is working with the Blue Green Alliance and IUE-CWA, the Industrial Division of the Communication Workers of America to develop and deliver training on green chemistry and safer alternatives to IUE-CWA workers across District 9 ((California, Nevada and Hawaii). To date, EPHC has presented at trainings throughout California, with more planned for the summer and fall of 2014.