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News from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute
at the University of Massachusetts Lowell
January 2012 
Upcoming Events
April 12, 2012
Spring Continuing Education Conference, Newton, MA
Save the Date

TUR Planner Course

The 2012 TUR Planner Course will begin shortly after Labor Day.  This is a seven week course with one full day of classroom instruction per week, plus outside reading and group project work.  

The venue and exact schedule will not be confirmed before the start of July, but we plan to hold it somewhere in the vicinity of Worcester.  Information will be posted on our website and announced in the newsletter as it is confirmed.

If you are interested in attending or have any questions regarding course content, please contact Mark Myles at 978-934-3298, or mark.myles@turi.org.


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New Resources

Formaldehyde and Hexavalent Chromium Compounds Designated as Higher Hazard Substances
Chromium plating bath
Hexavalent chromium compounds are commonly used in metal plating
Effective January 1, 2012, formaldehyde (CAS #50-00-0) is designated as a Higher Hazard Substance (HHS), with a reporting threshold of 1000 lbs.

In addition, the chromium compounds category has been separated into hexavalent chromium compounds (compounds in which the chromium is in a +6 valence state), and all other chromium compounds (typically trivalent (+3), but also including all other valence states). The hexavalent chromium compounds are designated as HHS, with a 1000 lb reporting threshold. The all other chromium compounds category still has the same reporting threshold of 25,000 lb manufactured or processed, 10,000 lb otherwise used.

These reporting changes, as well as the addition of 16 substances which were added to the US EPA TRI list in 2011, take effect with reporting year 2012, which will be reported to MassDEP by July 1, 2013. For further information, please contact the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at 978-934-3275, or visit the TURI website.    


New Solutions journal features article on Higher Hazard Substances designation

The Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) has achieved significant reductions in toxic chemical use in New Solutions cover Massachusetts, using a combination of regulatory and voluntary measures. Historically the program has regulated only users of relatively large quantities of toxic chemicals, with services provided to facilities of all sizes on a voluntary basis. Statutory amendments adopted in 2006 created an authority to designate Higher and Lower Hazard Substances (HHS and LHS). The HHS designation extends TURA program requirements to smaller quantity chemical users.

A recent article in the occupational health journal "New Solutions" reports on experiences from the first four years of implementing this authority. A case study of trichloroethylene is provided as an example.

The article also discusses steps taken to regulate n-propyl bromide, a drop-in substitute for TCE that is minimally regulated at the federal level. TURA program experiences may be of interest to other jurisdictions that are working to reach small-quantity chemical users, and to categorize and prioritize chemicals.

Download the article: Higher Hazard Substances Under the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act: Lessons From the First Four Years. New Solutions, v.21 no. 3, 2011. Authors: Massey, Rachel I.; Tenney, Heather; Harriman, Elizabeth.  

Community leaders making Massachusetts safer and healthier
Brochure coverThe Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell has awarded grants to community organizations and small businesses for the past 17 years that have helped make the Commonwealth a safer place to live and work.

A new TURI publication describes how these groups and companies have helped to reduce toxics use in areas such as schools,municipal buildings, small businesses and households. The education, outreach and adoption of safer alternatives have improved public, worker and environmental health.

Learn about these grassroots projects by downloading the publication, or by contacting Community Program Manager Joy Onasch (978-934-4343) to obtain a print copy.   
Staff Activities
Rachel Massey attended the final meeting of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Chemicals Outlook Steering Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, December 7th-9th. The Global Chemicals Outlook is a major report that focuses attention on the changing face of the global chemicals industry over the past several decades. It documents the rapid rise in chemical production, use and disposal in developing countries; health and environmental consequences of this rapid growth; economic implications; and policy options for preventing pollution while fostering economic growth at the national and international scale. UNEP invited TURI to lead major portions of this project, creating an opportunity to forge international connections and to bring policy insights from Massachusetts to a wide audience. This work was funded through a UNEP grant to TURI.

Pam Eliason presented at the New York Healthy Economy Healthy Environment conference in Albany NY. Pam's presentation focused on the Massachusetts model of Toxics Use Reduction that promotes innovation in industry.  New York sees Massachusetts as an example of how to effectively engage industry and academia to promote innovations that lead to a more competitive and sustainable economy. All presentations are available online.