GreenScreen® in Practice

GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals is used by a wide range of professionals including governmental bodies, non-profits, businesses, formulators, and product developers who are interested in assessing the inherent hazards of chemicals and their potential effect on human health and the environment. GreenScreen Assessment results can help inform chemical selection decisions at the product design stage, during replacement of hazardous chemicals in existing products, and in procurement. GreenScreen can also help support informed chemical substitutions in manufacturing supply chains, alternatives assessments and chemicals management legislation. Below we provide some examples of how GreenScreen is used by various stakeholders.

Use of GreenScreen by Government

GreenScreen is used by state regulatory agencies to support and inform legislation pertaining to use of chemicals in consumer products. For example, Maine’s Safer Chemicals in Children's Products Rules require manufacturers to report use of priority hazardous chemicals above certain thresholds. If requested based on this reporting, manufacturers must also document hazards of priority chemicals and proposed safer alternatives. GreenScreen is named within the regulation as a hazard assessment approach which can be used in this alternatives assessment process. Similarly, Washington Senate Bill 5181 states that alternatives to high priority flame retardant chemicals in upholstery or children's products can be evaluated using GreenScreen and cannot be scored as a Benchmark-1 chemical. Washington state also used GreenScreen as an alternatives assessment tool to determine if safer alternatives to Deca-BDE, a flame retardant used in television casings and upholstery, existed on the market. The alternatives assessment findings were used to support a state-wide ban on products containing this class of chemicals in January 2011. In California, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) includes GreenScreen as a method to evaluate relative hazards of chemicals as part of the alternatives analysis process required under its Safer Consumer Products Regulations.

Use of GreenScreen in Sustainability Standards

GreenScreen has been adopted in a number of certification programs and standards focused on increasing sustainability. Under the U.S. Green Building Council(R)’s (USGBC’s) LEED v4 standard, manufacturers can acquire two credits – one through disclosure and the other through the elimination of highly hazardous chemical ingredients -- using GreenScreen to evaluate and communicate hazards. To earn the disclosure credit, companies must identify all ingredients in products present at or above certain thresholds. Chemical identity for proprietary ingredients can be redacted if a GreenScreen List Translator score or GreenScreen Benchmark is reported, along with chemical hazards, ingredient role and amount. Manufacturers can qualify for a second LEED credit if their products do not contain chemicals which have a List Translator score of LT-1 or a Benchmark-1 score under GreenScreen. Although material inventories for the disclosure credit can take several forms, one pathway is through a Health Product Declaration®. The Health Product Declaration (HPD) is a standard format for communicating product chemical ingredients created and maintained by the Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC). Through the use of HPDC’s HPD Builder tool, a manufacturer can construct an HPD where GreenScreen List Translator scores and GreenScreen Benchmarks from public assessments are automatically provided. In addition, GreenScreen Assessments can be used towards Cradle to Cradle Certification which provides another pathway to the LEED credits. Clean Production Action published “How to Use GreenScreen for LEED v4” to help guide manufacturers, architects, and designers through the process of earning LEED credits using GreenScreen.

GreenScreen has also been incorporated into the TCO Certified international sustainability certification for IT products. To earn certification under this program, manufacturers must reduce the use of hazardous non-halogenated flame retardant substances and replace them with safer alternatives. All plastics used in the product to be TCO Certified (both the outer casing and the panel) must only use flame retardants with ingredients on the TCO Certified Accepted Substance List. To be placed on this list, flame retardant substances must be assessed using GreenScreen and assigned a Benchmark score of 2 or higher. Non-halogenated flame retardants have largely replaced the halogenated substances that are known hazards to human health and the environment. TCO Certified’s adoption of GreenScreen supports the goal of identifying safer, environmentally preferable alternatives.

Use of GreenScreen in Corporate Chemicals Management

GreenScreen is a platform for internal chemical screening programs and tracking chemical inventories. GreenScreen is also used to identify and compare hazard characteristics of chemicals, materials and products. For example, Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co) has developed a Screened Chemistry program that assesses the environmental and human health impact of chemicals used in the garment finishing process to manufacture LS&Co. products. The framework incorporates GreenScreen and the U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice Program to determine which chemical substances are best in class or better alternatives. Once a Licensed GreenScreen Profiler has assessed each chemical within a formulation, an overall weighted score is assigned. Formulations that contain a Benchmark-3 or Benchmark-4 chemical substance (or full green circle on the U.S. EPA SCIL list) are considered preferred substances and earn a higher score than formulations that contain, for example, Benchmark-1 substances. This scoring system allows LS&Co. to create a preferred list of chemicals, work with chemical suppliers and garment manufacturers to eliminate chemicals of concern and gain more visibility into the chemicals used to manufacture its products. The framework also prioritizes the assessment of chemicals based on hazards and ultimately rewards suppliers that choose chemicals that are best in class or better alternatives.

Garmon Chemicals is an Italian chemical company that develops innovative chemical formulations used in garment finishing such as denim jeans and other fashion items. Garmon’s approach is to screen out chemicals of high concern in the design process using GreenScreen and the US EPA Safer Choice Program. Chemicals of high concern, defined as those assessed as GreenScreen Benchmark-1 or with a GreenScreen List Translator score of LT-1 chemicals are screened out of its products. Using this framework, the company has reformulated or developed from scratch an entirely new suite of formulations that meet the needs of brands to create the vast array of denim styles consumers have come to expect, such as stone wash, light bleached finishes, and authentic worn products.

Google’s Healthy Materials Program incorporates GreenScreen as part of its process to identify environmentally preferable building products and materials. Under this Program, Google has established criteria for rating building materials based on established industry standards that value transparency and material health. Products are scored based on the level of chemical ingredient disclosure, chemical ingredient hazard reduction and transparency. Manufacturers can submit product information into Google’s Portico database for scoring and assessment against the criteria.

There are a number of ways in which product information can be provided and points awarded.  Manufacturers can complete and submit a Health Product Declaration (HPD). Under this option, products are awarded points depending on the level of disclosure used to create the HPD; chemical ingredient hazards are documented using GreenScreen List Translator scores. Products with no GreenScreen List Translator LT-1 scores are awarded higher points. Manufacturers can also complete and provide GreenScreen Assessments for product chemical ingredients. Products are awarded points depending on level of disclosure and presence of GreenScreen Benchmark-1 chemicals.  
Products which earn sufficient points are available to be specified and procured for Google design and construction projects around the globe.  

HP Inc. uses GreenScreen to assess hundreds of substances, including alternative flame retardant and plasticizer chemicals, with the goal of avoiding regrettable substitutions - where a known chemical of high concern is replaced with an untested, unevaluated chemical that is later found to be hazardous and regulated. The organization also uses GreenScreen to articulate materials goals to suppliers and chemical formulators. Read more about HP’s use of GreenScreen in materials selection decisions and alternatives assessment and procurement.

Use of GreenScreen by Industry Associations and Organizations

A number of industry associations and organizations use GreenScreen to support members’ needs for collaborative research on safer alternatives and development of proactive chemicals management policies and programs. Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) is a group of 21 brands whose mission is to advance towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals in the textile and footwear supply chain. As part of its mission, ZDHC identified and prioritized a list of chemicals used in their industry, the latter based on hazard, volume and use patterns. In terms of hazard, chemicals were evaluated using GreenScreen List Translator. Two lists were developed for action as a result of this prioritization activity – a Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) and a Research List. The MRSL addresses hazardous substances potentially used and discharged into the environment during manufacturing and related processes, not just those substances that could be present in finished products. The list includes chemical substances for which safer alternatives exist and subject to a usage ban in facilities that process textile materials and trim parts for use in apparel and footwear for which safer alternatives exist. The Research List focuses the ZDHC’s efforts on research and development for prioritized substances that do not have safer alternatives for all uses in the market today. By encouraging key stakeholders to develop alternatives for chemicals on the Research List, ZDHC hopes to move these chemicals more rapidly to the MRSL for supply chain phase out.

The Business and Academic Partnership Project Group of the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) developed and piloted a new type of collaboration between companies and universities to evaluate safer alternatives to toxic chemicals using GreenScreen. The goal was to generate robust assessments of alternatives to support chemical substitution decision-making by GC3 companies and their supply chain partners, through pooling of knowledge, data and funds. The model was developed through a pilot project focused on identifying and evaluating alternatives to a known toxic phthalate plasticizer in wire and cable applications -- DEHP (Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate). The project report provides a summary of the project results and links to GreenScreen Assessments for nine plasticizers.

The Phosphorus, Inorganic, and Nitrogen Flame Retardants Association (PINFA) -- teamed with Clean Production Action to conduct GreenScreen Assessments for non-halogenated flame retardant proposed as alternatives to brominated compounds. The work classified 11 PIN flame retardants as Benchmark-2 or Benchmark-3, while four PIN products were classified as GreenScreen Benchmark-1. Antimony trioxide (a synergist used mainly with halogenated flame retardants) was also assessed as GreenScreen Benchmark-1. Two PIN products were GreenScreen Benchmark-U due to insufficient data. Pinfa recognized the GreenScreen Assessment results as providing valuable information regarding potential hazards associated with non-halogenated flame retardant alternatives. Pinfa members work with downstream users to ensure further evaluation where indicated of these alternatives, including use of studies and risk assessments developed for REACH and updating of GreenScreen Assessments if new studies become available.

Use of GreenScreen in Alternative Assessments

A number of frameworks, toolboxes and references include GreenScreen as a chemical hazard assessment method which can be used to support alternatives assessment work, including the National Academy of Sciences’ “Framework to Guide Selection of Chemical Alternatives”, the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) Alternatives Assessment Guide, and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s “Chemicals Alternatives Assessment”.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has also included GreenScreen in its Substitution and Alternatives Assessment Toolbox. The OECD toolbox is a compilation of resources relevant to chemical substitution and alternatives assessment and also includes alternatives assessment frameworks, case studies and regulations. Similarly, the Substitution Support Portal (SUBSPORT) -- a free, multilingual platform for information exchange on alternative substances and technologies, as well as tools and guidance for substance evaluation and substitution management -- also references GreenScreen. SUBSPORT includes legal information on substitution, a database of restricted and priority substances, a compilation of prevalent criteria for the identification of hazardous substances, a description of existing substitution tools, a database comprising case stories, and substitution training programs.

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell collaborates with businesses, community organizations and government agencies to reduce the use of toxic chemicals, protect public health and the environment, and increase competitiveness of Massachusetts businesses. As part of its work, TURI collaborates with academic partners, other US state and federal agencies, and international organizations to develop and refine alternatives assessment methods. TURI has included GreenScreen as part of its training and discussion around the alternatives assessment process.

Clean Production Action’s BizNGO – a collaboration of leaders from businesses, environmental groups, universities, and governments – initiated a demonstration project to a draft priority product under the California Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Regulations: paint and varnish strippers with methylene chloride.  Using GreenScreen, the goals of this demonstration project were three-fold: (1) to identify whether less hazardous alternatives to methylene chloride in formulated paint stripper products are available on the market; (2) to identify candidate alternatives for methylene chloride in paint stripping formulations that will likely be considered in actual/future Stage 1 submissions for this “priority product” in California; and (3) to identify challenges and needs confronting compliance with the alternatives analysis process under the California SCP regulations. The analysis found safer chemical alternatives to methylene chloride and uncovered a number of lessons learned in terms of alternatives assessment in support of California’s SCP regulations.