General Background

Guidance & General Resources


iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index v2.0
GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals (v1.2)
The Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT)
Eco Index
Chemical Assessment and Ranking System (CARS)
SC Johnson GreenlistTM
Chemical Data Access Tool (CDAT)
Health and Environmental Research Online (HERO)
Computational Toxicology Research Program (CompTox)
Materials Project (MIT-DOE)
Chemical Hazards and Alternatives Toolbox (ChemHAT)
California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC): California Green Chemistry Initiative

    Guidance & General Resources


  • Chemical Alternatives Analysis: Methods, Models, and Tools – Revised Final Report to the Department of Toxic Substances Control” (August 2010) Report by Brandon Kuczenski and Roland Geyer, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara [DTSC Contract #08-T3629] (PDF)
  • IC2 Safer Alternatives Assessments Wiki – A Wiki-enabled dynamic tool for  state technical assistance providers and chemical policy makers to advance the developing field of alternatives assessment.  This Wiki is a project of the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2). 
  • Alternatives Assessment Guidance Document – under development by the Washington State Department of Ecology and seven other members states of the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse. For more information, including chapter modules of the Guidance Document and webinar presentats, please visit here

The following webinars covering alternatives assessment were hosted by the Great Lakes Green Chemistry Network and Michigan Greeen Chemistry Clearinghouse as part of the Phone Seminar Series on Green Chemistry: (for a complete list of previous webinars click here)


“Introduction to the GreenScreen™” 
by Shari A. Franjevic

(Green Chemistry & Sustainable Design Consultant, Transform to Green LLC)

March 28, 2012 (PDF)

Alternatives Assessment and Safer Product Labeling as Drivers for Green Chemistryby Clive Davies (Chief, Design for the Environment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

January 11, 2012 (PDF)

“Alternatives Assessment, New Tools for Safer Chemicals” by Ken Geiser 

(Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell; Co-Director, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production);

October 19, 2011 (PDF)

Webinars hosted by Washington Department of Ecology on Alternatives Asessment:

Eight member states (CA, CT, MA, MI, MN, NY, OR and WA) of the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse have been crafting the Alternatives Assessment Guidance Document. For additional information on this effort, please contact the Guidance Team Lead, Alex Stone;

The Washington State Department of Ecology has hosted two webinars highlighting progress that has been made on the various modules that comprise  the Alternatives Assessment Guidance Document, namely:

  • Assessing the Safety of Chemical Alternatives-PART I” (August 15, 2012)
  • Assessing the Safety of Chemical Alternatives-PART II” (November 28, 2012)

It is recommended that one familiarize oneself with Part I of the webinar before reviewing the  Part II webinar. Part II also covers the draft Decision Module which helps define which modules, in what order and to what degree, are recommended for an alternatives assessment. 

Recordings and PDFs of both Part I and Part II webinars are available.
iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index v2.0

The iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index tool is a methodology to generate a sustainability-based score for chemical products and process, using a set of metrics based on the Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry. Factors considered include: waste generation, energy usage, health and environmental impact of raw materials and products, and safety of processing steps.

The user can compare the sustainability score of alternative scenarios by changing the information inputted for (1) materials going into the process, (2) materials out of process (i.e. final product and wastes) and (3) conditions for the process steps.  

Access to the internet-based version of the iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index is free following the registration of an account. The iSUSTAIN™ Green Chemistry Index was developed as an alliance between Cytec Industries Inc., Sopheon, and Beyond Benign.

GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals (v1.2)

According to the Clean Production Action website, the GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals is “…is a method for chemical hazard assessment (CHA) to help move our society quickly and effectively toward the use of greener and safer chemicals. The Green Screen is the first free, fully transparent and publicly accessible tool to identify substances that are inherently less hazardous for humans and the environment. The GreenScreen™ is helping major companies and governments to substitute hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives.”

The GreenScreenTM supports both green chemistry and Design for Environment (DfE) through its focus on hazard reduction and informed substitution. Essentially, the GreenScreenTM uses its GreenScreenTM Benchmark System to identify chemicals ranging from “Chemicals of High Concern” to “Safer Chemical Alternatives”

The latest version of the GreenScreenTM, v1.2, was released in October 2011 and can be found online at the Clean Production Action website here.  Key revisions to v1.2 include (1) updating hazard criteria to harmonize with the Globally Harmonized System for the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS); (2) enabling assessment of inorganic chemicals; (3) addressing data gaps; (4) expanded guidance and reference documents.


University of Minnesota
Humphrey School, Room 180
301 -19th Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

The upcoming GreenScreen training will be held in Minneapolis in conjunction with the Minnesota Green Chemistry Conference 2013 Beakers to Business Plans. This in-depth, experiential training will provide an interactive, hands-on introduction to the GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals, a tool developed by Clean Production Action for identifying chemicals of concern and selecting alternatives. This training session will place an emphasis in the afternoon on applying the GreenScreen to polymeric materials. We will also present updates on the GreenScreen program, including the Certified Assessor Program and validation.

To register, please visit:

For more information, please contact:

The Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT)

The State of Washington Department of Ecology has developed QCAT, a simplified version of the GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals hazard assessment methodology, to allow small and medium size businesses to perform a quick alternatives assessment for chemicals of concern. QCAT also provides detailed information on where to find data and how to interpret the data needed to complete a hazard assessment using the tool.

The Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT) v1.2 Methodology (released in March 2012) can be found here. The site also provides a template of the approved format for reporting the results of a QCAT assessment, with a completed example.

Eco Index

The Outdoor Industry Association and European Outdoor Group have collaborated to develop the Eco Index as an open source and scalable approach to life cycle material assessments with global reach that is applicable to its industry and other industry sectors.

According to the Eco Index beta website, this tool “…uses environmental guidelines, environmental performance indicators, and environmental footprint metrics to assess the impacts within six product life cycle stages: Materials; Packaging; Product Manufacturing and Assembly; Transport and Distribution; Use and Service; and End of Life. A comparative scoring system at the indicator level provides standardized levels of achievement; a data capture tool at the metric level provides a means to collect quantitative data within seven critical “Lenses” (areas of impact): Land Use Intensity, Water, Waste, Biodiversity, Chemistry/Toxics – People, Chemistry/Toxics – Environment, and Energy Use/Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Designed for use by a diverse group of stakeholders from product designers to suppliers, the Eco Index framework is modular, allowing implementation of the tool within the life cycle stages and level of detail appropriate for each company. At present, the Eco Index does not provide a final score or ranking for finished products.” (Source: Eco Index website)

The current intent is to use Eco Index as an internal tool for the supply chain and not as a consumer-facing label.

More information, including downloadable files for the Eco Index tool can be found at the Eco Index website.

  • A recording of the webinar “Outdoor Industry Eco Index: Materials Assessment Module” presented by Derek Campbell (March 25, 2011), and hosted by the Business-NGO Working Group for Safer Chemicals and Sustainable Materials (BizNGO), can be accessed on the BizNGO website by completing a free registration process.

Pharos, a project of the Healthy Building Network is online tool for performing chemical & material assessments of building products & materials. The tool includes:

  • Building Product Library – information and material contents and comparative scores on environmental health impacts.
  • Chemical and Material Library – database of chemicals and bio-based materials screened for health and environmental hazards.
  • Evaluation Framework – Scoring protocols for environmental and health impacts of building products, with links to certifications.
Energy & Materials Flow & Cost Tracker (EMFACT™)

The Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA) and the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance (MA OTA) collaborated to create the Energy & Materials Flow & Cost Tracker (EMFACT™), a software tool developed on the principles of environmental management accounting to support sustainable production and pollution prevention within companies. EMFACT™ is designed to systematically track, in a modular manner, the flow of materials and energy use, releases, discharges, and wastes and associated costs within a specified value stream. The intent is a tool that can provide a comprehensive picture of resource use and its relation to production and planning, with the goal of improving both profitability and environmental performance of the business.

With respect to chemical assessments, a feature of EMFACTTM allows for the development of inventory of chemicals (present in material inputs and/or waste outputs) that can be: (1) screened against chemicals of concern; (2) subjected to a mass-balance analysis.

EMFACTTM files can be downloaded for free, upon completion of a registration process, from the EMFACTTM website.

Chemical Assessment and Ranking System (CARS) by Zero Waste Alliance

The Chemical Assessment and Ranking System (CARS) is a decision-support tool developed by Zero Waste Alliance (Portland, Oregon) for assessing chemicals and setting/prioritizing goals for substitution or elimination of problematic materials or processes. The user can input a list of chemicals identified by their Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS or CASRN), which are then screened against publicly available chemical information covering human health & safety, ecological health and ecosystem-wide impacts to flag chemicals of concerns. Data sources include: carcinogens, teratogens, hazardous air pollutants, greenhouse gases, ozone depleting substances, Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) substances, endocrine disruptors, extremely hazardous substances and regulated chemicals. Screening is based on hazard; thus CARS is not a risk assessment tool, but the user can also input values of the organization to identify relative ranking and create a prioritized list for action. The developers envision CARS as a decision-support tool to address chemicals as a part of an overall Environmental Management System (EMS). 


The WERCS Ltd. Company has developed GreenWERCSTM, commercially available software to “drive innovation in green chemistry” through the supply chain. GreenWERCSTM software allows one to assess the environmental and human health impacts of product formulations at the level of ingredients, using industry and user-defined criteria. Intended users are manufacturers, retailers & distributors, and government agencies. The website has a webinar on GreenWERCSTM and case studies of companies using GreenWERCSTM can be downloaded.

SC Johnson GreenlistTM

SC Johnson has developed an internal chemical assessment protocol, the GreenlistTM process, to classify the raw materials (ingredients) that it uses in its product formulations for environmental and human health impacts. GreenlistTM is a computerized, global system that allows users throughout the supply chain to classify potential ingredients with a rating of 3 to 0, where a 3 rating is considered “Best”, 2 is “Better” and 1 is “Acceptable”. Chemicals rated 0 are used on an approved basis when no other viable alternatives are available, and then only in limited amounts.

SC Johnson is sharing the GreenlistTM process by offering a royalty-free licensing agreement through a third-party administrator, namely Five Winds International.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)

Chemical Data Access Tool (CDAT)

The Chemical Data Access Tool (CDAT) allows the public to find chemical health and safety information submitted to the US EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It is anticipated that Access to this data will expand the public’s access to critical health and safety information on chemicals that are manufactured and processed in the U.S. This includes access to health & safety studies on chemicals that had been treated as confidential business information (CBI) or have been voluntarily declassified as confidential by the chemical industry. As of November 29, 2011, CDAT contains 542 declassified documents publicly available for the first time. 

Health and Environmental Research Online (HERO)

The publicly available Health and Environmental Research Online (HERO) database provides access to the scientific literature behind US EPA science assessments that supports agency regulatory decision- and policy-making for chemical regulation.

For example, HERO contains the peer-reviewed scientific studies used in the Integrated Science Assessment (ISA) for EPA’s periodic review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for the six major criteria air pollutants (lead, ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, NOx and SOx).  Furthermore, it includes the references and data for Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) chemical assessments (e.g. for chloroprene, 1,4dioxane, EGBE, acrylamide, methanol).

Other assessments currently available include: nanoscale silver; inhalation exposure; nanoscale titanium dioxide.

Overall, the HERO database currently includes more than 300,000 scientific articles including the authors, titles, dates, and abstracts; but new studies will be continuously added as part of the open government directive to conduct business with transparency, participation and collaboration. 

Computational Toxicology Research Program (CompTox)

The US EPA National Center for Computational Toxicology coordinates the Computational Toxicology Research Program (CompTox) as a part of the broader Chemical Safety for Sustainability Research Program of the US EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

CompTox integrates advances in molecular biology, chemistry, toxicology, bioinformatics and computational sciences to assess chemicals for potential risks to human health and the environment in a manner that is more rapid and more effective than using only animal testing. The outcome of this research with both internal and external partners is the development of modeling programs, rapid high through-put screening chemical screening data, databases and other decision support tools. CompTox makes a number of these tools publicly available on its website, including:

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Materials Project, a collaborative effort of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LNBL; US Department of Energy) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was jointly launched as an online tool on November 3, 2011. Full Access is free with registration.

With the Materials Project, researchers can run computations using a supercomputer to characterize the properties of inorganic compounds, including stability, voltage, capacity, and oxidation state. The results of these high through-put computations are then organized into a database that is accessible by researchers. Other functionalities include computational phase diagrams, “Reaction Calculator” (based on enthalpies) and a “Structure Predictor”. 

Chemical Hazards and Alternatives Toolbox (ChemHAT)

BlueGreen Alliance has launched a new, free tool that is designed by workers for workers to make it easier to learn about chemicals: ChemHAT (Chemical Hazards and Alternatives Toolbox)With ChemHAT’s searchable database, one can easily read about the scientific findings on the short and long-term health effects of over 10,000 commonly used chemicals. 

The ChemHAT is available at:

BlueGreen Alliance held a webinar entitled “Trying ChemHAT on” to walk people through the ChemHAT database on Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A copy of the webinar Powerpoint presentation and audio file can be found here.

BlueGreen Alliance is seeking input from all interested stakeholders on how to make ChemHAT a continuously improving resource.

California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC): California Green Chemistry Initiative


The DTSC compiled the above list of tools and data sources relative to conducting to an alternatives analysis. The list will be a point of discussion for the upcoming workshop being hosted by DTSC:

  • Alternatives Analysis Workshop: Tools, Methodologies and Frameworks” [October 9-10, 2012] (More information)

Day one of the workshop will follow a town-hall format to receive recommendations for modifications to the lists.