A broad coalition of groups working to replace chemicals of concern to human health or the environment with safer alternatives has released “The Guide to Safer Chemicals." This first-of-its-kind tool sets benchmarks for how manufacturers, retailers, and purchasers can track their progress to safer chemicals.
The free, 64-page guide was released at the 7th annual meeting of BizNGO, a coalition formed in 2006 that includes more than 500 leaders from businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), universities, and government agencies.
The guide is a how-to-resource for implementing the BizNGO Principles for Safer Chemicals: 1) Know & Disclose Product Chemistry; 2) Assess & Avoid Hazards; 3) Commit to Continuous Improvement; and 4) Support Public Policies & Industry Standards. It uses a hiking metaphor of four benchmarks—Trailhead, Base Camp, High Camp, and Summit—for the journey to implementing the BizNGO principles. Reads the guide, “The benchmarks are relative indicators of performance, not absolutes.”
The BizNGO principles have been endorsed by Staples, Hewlett-Packard, Kaiser Permanente, Seventh Generation, Construction Specialties, Dignity Health, Method, Novation, Perkins+Will, and Premier. The guide provides examples and strategies for both beginners and experts for managing chemicals in products and supply chains.
Says BizNGO, every week new scientific research links exposure to chemicals commonly found in products to the increasing incidence of serious chronic health problems, including asthma, childhood cancers, infertility, and learning and developmental disabilities. The uncertainty surrounding the safety of chemicals is eroding consumer confidence in a wide range of products. Today's business leaders recognize that safer chemicals not only protect human health and the environment, but also cut the costs of regulation, hazardous waste storage and disposal, worker protection, and future liabilities.