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Alternatives Assessment: A Powerful Process for Promoting Safer Solutions

The alternatives assessment process identifies, evaluates, and compares safer, more effective substitutes for hazardous chemicals. This offers significant benefits:

Focus on solutions rather than problems. Actively seeking solutions promotes creativity and the role of science.

Improve performance while reducing risks. Focusing on functions while evaluating multiple attributes will drive a continuous cycle of improvements.

Stimulate markets. Competition will increase for cleaner, safer products when environmental and health attributes will be critically examined.

Expert Guidance. Key Concepts and Tools. Hands-on Experience.

In partnership with California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, we offered a two-day training on the process of alternatives assessment. Following is an overview of the training. If you would like to be notified about future trainings as they are scheduled, please email us.

The training, held June 4-5, 2012 at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control in Chatsworth, California, introduced participants to a practical framework for identifying and evaluating alternatives that are potentially safer than the specific chemical of concern.

Using the GreenScreen™ for Safer Chemicals and other key tools and online databases, participants practiced crucial steps in the alternatives assessment process . They were also introduced to corporate and government policies that support alternatives assessments as well as lessons learned from ongoing experiences.


  • Hands-on experience in conducting an alternatives assessment
  • Understanding of the complexities and possibilities associated with conducting alternatives assessments
  • Insights about the role of scientific information
  • Information about California’s Safer Consumer Products bill and the role of alternatives assessment in the draft regulations


Participants came with a variety of backgrounds and affiliations: business and consulting; environmental and health advocacy groups; government; nongovernmental organizations; healthcare; and academia.


The trainers were experienced professionals from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) and the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, both located at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. TURI and the Lowell Center have pioneered the development of alternatives assessment processes.

Among the trainers was Ken Geiser, one of the country’s foremost experts in chemicals and materials policy, toxics use reduction, and pollution prevention.   He co-chairs the Green Ribbon Science Panel of California's Green Chemistry Initiative.

Future Trainings in Alternatives Assessment and Related Topics

If you would like to be notified of future Lowell Center training opportunities, please contact us to be notified when they are scheduled.