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Toxics Use Reduction Institute Newsletter


December 2011  

Upcoming events
TUR Planner Exam, January 11, 2012 at DEP CERO, Worcester MA, 1-4:30 pm

Save the Date -- Spring Continuing Education Conference, April 12, 2012

This tool provides information for retailers who want to to understand more about the chemical ingredients in the products they sell and to find safer alternatives to chemicals of concern.


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Conserving natural resources, reducing toxics
TUR Planners study energy, water, and materials conservation   

Toxics Use Reduction Planners interested in learning about Asset Specific Planning gathered for Resource Conservation Day 2 training on December 6, 2011.  


The sessions, organized by OTA, TURI and DEP, featured a number  

Energy audit
Conducting an energy audit is a key step in reducing energy use

of outstanding presentations on new Resource Conservation technologies and case studies.


These included:

  • a practical overview of industrial/commercial energy management planning,
  • an energy efficiency case study from Gentex Optics
  • a case study of wind power generation by Mark Richey Woodworking.
  • an overview of reduction of materials in solid waste by MassDEP
  • a case study of waste reduction programs at Raytheon
  • three real-world case studies on water conservation from Conservation Solutions Corporation, Pfizer, and Lightolier. 

These and other TUR training materials can be downloaded at the TURI website. 

UMass Lowell researchers explore greener adhesives, seek business input
Research presents R & D opportunity for Mass. companies
Associate Professor Daniel Schmidt of the UMass Lowell Plastics Engineering department and his team are investigating safer alternative chemistries for industrial adhesives, with the assistance of a University Research Grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute,

They are developing high performance, minimally toxic adhesives with a range of mechanical properties whose chemistry and properties allow for room temperature curing and gap filling and should enable good adhesion to a wide range of materials. 

Photocuring and thermal curing are also possible, and the chemistry of these networks may make it possible to heal defects and repair damage as well.  The materials in question are colorless, have excellent optical clarity, and show minimal shrinkage during cure.

TURI will host a presentation by Dr. Schmidt and his researchers on February 15, 2012 at UMass Lowell. The presentation is open to anyone who is interested. Representatives of businesses and industries are particularly welcome to attend and provide input.

This research presents an immediate R & D opportunity for Massachusetts companies. Let us know if you have adhesive applications that currently use toxic chemicals.

For further information, contact Pam Eliason at TURI. 
How Developing Nations Can Protect Children From Hazardous Chemical Exposures While Sustaining Economic Growth
Journal article discusses international chemicals policy
Rachel Massey, Policy Analyst at TURI, and Ken Geiser, former TURI Director and Professor of Work Environment at UMass Lowell, joined an international team of chemicals policy experts in writing an article that was just published in the influential journal Health Affairs.  
HealthAffairs cover
Health Affairs is published by Project Hope, a nonprofit international health education organization  

The article describes present and potential costs of environmental exposures and discusses policy options to protect future generations of children in a sustainable development context. It notes that by 2020 the developing world will account for 33 percent of global chemical demand and 31 percent of production.

The authors recommend that industrializing nations adopt a series of principles and policies to prevent disease among their populations while at the same time minimizing the risk to their own economic development.

Download the article

Dry cleaners introduced to TURA Program requirements & objectives

Perchloroethylene reporting threshold now 1000 lbs. per year   Perchloroethylene (perc) the cleaning solvent often used in professional garment care, was designated a Higher Hazard Substance in 2009. This means that the threshold for filing under TURA is 1,000 lbs. 


Although Massachusetts dry cleaners have reduced their use of perc by

over 70% since 1990, many still continue to use it. Those with 10 or more full-time-equivalent employees began reporting their perc use in 2010, and now must start preparing toxics use reduction plans, with the first Plan Summary due July 1st, 2012. 


This was the target audience for two recent training sessions prepared especially for dry cleaners by TURI, OTA, and MassDEP.   


For this effort, the three TURA agencies developed a specific dry cleaning Sample Plan, Plan Guidance document, and Options Opportunities Matrix to make the process for these firms as simple as possible while still satisfying the requirements and objectives of TURA. 


Electronic copies of the training materials can be downloaded at the TURI website.  


Staff activities
Clark retires from TURI
Janet Clark retired on Wednesday, Nov. 30, after nearly 20 years with the Toxics Use Reduction Institute. Co-workers and friends from the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, the Department of Work Environment
Janet Clark
Janet Clark leaves TURI as Senior Associate Director 
and the Office of Technical Assistance joined TURI to celebrate her transition to her lifelong dream of operating her farm in Ashfield.
Applying her knowledge of sustainability to agriculture, Janet made a commitment that the The Steady Lane Farm would raise only grass-fed animals without any hormones, antibiotics or animal byproducts. The beef is healthier for people and grass-based farming is better for the land. She sells fresh beef to the local community.

Janet will be missed but we wish her well as she moves from Acton to Ashfield and dedicates her life to making the world a better place. She invites people to call and stop by Steady Lane Farm, 144 Steady Lane Road, Ashfield, Mass., farmer@steadylanefarm.com,