Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What Resources Can Help Retailers Ensure Safer Chemicals?

We recognize that considerable effort may be needed to remove a chemical of high concern from the supply chain while still providing the public with products that are effective and affordable. Slow progress on a federal level towards an American environment less toxic to human health seems to be the current pace. But a new survey of state-level lawmaking around the country has shown an increase.

More than 120 measures aimed at reducing hazardous chemical exposure in everyday life are moving in American legislatures this year, according to the latest annual count by the Safer States coalition.  The tally has grown by a dozen in the last couple of weeks and may increase further.

Focused on harmful chemicals

Safer States is a network of organizations focused on safeguarding human health — and, therefore, overall environmental health — by reducing reliance on harmful chemicals. In all, the group counts 173 significant measures adopted by 35 states since 2000.

Unfortunately, too many suppliers faced with the challenge of reducing harmful chemicals on their shelves simply offer only slightly altered chemistries. These often prove to be “regrettable substitutes,” which are chemicals that are arguably somewhat safer than the targeted chemical of high concern, but which display hazard characteristics and exposure potential similar to the chemistries they replace. Often growing concerns are revealed gradually as health and safety data gaps on the “regrettable substitutes” are slowly filled through more research. N‐Methyl pyrrolidone or (NMP) is a great example of a chemical that was thought to be a great alternative chemical for paint stripping (found in products like Citristrip and Ready Strip) only to be discovered later as a reproductive organ toxin.

For retailers to step off this costly treadmill of constantly chasing and replacing alternative chemistries requires careful assessment and substitution planning. Although a commitment to continuous improvement must allow for imperfect transition chemistries, much greater attention should be paid to getting it as right as possible in the first instance.

We encourage retailers to seek additional expert assistance and advice, follow this link for a list of experts that can help  http://saferchemicals.org/for-retailers/

High Levels Of Concern 

The Occupational Health Branch investigated two incidents in California in which workers died after using paint strippers containing methylene chloride. Methylene chloride has been linked by Federal OSHA to over 50 worker deaths nationwide since the mid-1980s. Methylene chloride (dichloromethane) is a widely used solvent that can cause serious illness or death when used in enclosed spaces. It is a cancer-causing chemical used in paint strippers, in the production of polymer foams, and as a degreaser. Because of the serious harm that can occur from inhaling methylene chloride vapors, employers, workers, and consumers should always consider safer alternatives to strip paint from surfaces.

One proven safe alternative to toxic paint stripping chemicals is stripping and removal products from EZ Strip. EZ Strip's active removal ingredients
(Dibasic esters) sit at the top of the California Department of Public Health of recommended alternatives.

To learn more about EZ Strip and how you can become a retailer of these products visit http://www.ezstrip.ca/

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