Toxics use reduction

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Toxics use reduction is an approach to pollution prevention that targets and measures reductions in the upfront use of toxic materials. Toxics use reduction emphasizes the more preventive aspects of source reduction but, due to its emphasis on toxic chemical inputs, has been opposed more vigorously by chemical manufacturers.

In the United States, toxics use reduction programs were set up by some state legislatures during the early 1990s, including in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon. Program elements may include mandatory reporting of toxic chemical use, reduction planning requirements, research and technical assistance. In the mid-1990s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considered toxics use reporting or materials accounting as an expansion of the public right to know on toxic chemical use.[1] In 1990,Congress issued the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 to try to reduce toxins. Though the restrictions are limited, it is still practiced in over thirty states.[2] The agency issued an advance notice of its proposed rule making in 1996,[3] though toxics use reporting was not adopted.

In Europe, attention to toxics use reduction may be seen in the European Union's new regulatory framework (adopted 2003) [4] for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).[5]

In an effort to reduce toxins, the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute has strived to create biobased products that still work as well as the original. The ecological, health, and safety (EHS) implications were evaluated and used to create the alternative products. For example, biobased floor strippers can be used as alternatives to solvent-based products such as Johnson Wax Professional (Pro Strip).[6]


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