SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

A Methodology to Identify Safer Chemical Products


Pollution Prevention has become a hot topic in the last few years and it is being touted as a way of achieving “sustainable development”. Many experts claim that the best way to achieve pollution prevention is to not use hazardous materials in the first place or use safer substitutes. However, it is unclear at this time what safer substitutes really means except that sometimes products are tagged with this label simply because they are water-based or come from nature. The City and County of San Francisco has developed a methodology to identify safer or non hazardous products. The initial purpose of the methodology was to help and encourage City agencies to use less hazardous products and to minimize the number of products that the City's Purchasing Department would have to keep in inventory. However, the methodology may be used to identify safer household products as well. For example, one set of criteria that is used is the occupational exposure standards, in which they are compared to the equilibrium vapor pressures for the ingredients in the product. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the quantitative approach that the city has developed to screen products and the effect that this methodology will have in helping and encouraging City agencies and the general public to use less hazardous products. Also, there will be a discussion on what impact this might have on the amount of hazardous waste generated.

Author Information

Quan, B
Hazardous Waste Management Program, Solid Waste Management Program, City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 188–198
DOI: 10.1520/STP15582S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5324-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1998-7