CleanerSolutions Database
Toxics Use Reduction Institute · Surface Solutions Laboratory
Toxics Use Reduction Institute

Surface Solutions Laboratory

CleanerSolutions Safety Score System

When choosing an alternative it is important that you do not shift the risk from the worker to the environment or from the environment to the worker. You want to select a product that is safer for one or the other; ideally it would be best if the product is safer for both as compared to the current cleaning product.

To help make this selection process easier, the lab conducts a preliminary screening of products for health and safety issues using the lab’s five environmental indicators:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Global Warming Potential (GWPs)
  • Ozone Depletion Potential (ODPs)
  • Hazardous Material Information System/ National Fire Protection Association (HMIS/NFPA)
  • pH

Each indicator is assigned a value up to ten points. Individual indicator points are then combined (with equal weighting) to give a safety score out of 50 points. A higher score implies a potentially safer product. It is important to note that the indicators used by SSL are not the only indicators that can be used for evaluating risk hazards associated with these products. However, SSL indicators do cover a broad range of hazards and provide the user with a good starting point.

Once you have selected alternative products based on laboratory performance and initial safety screening using the Simple Solutions database, you should conduct more in-depth research. For performance, remember that cleaning varies from case to case. SSL recommends process specific testing on potential replacement cleaning chemicals. For safety, further analysis should be conducted to verify that the selected products are compatible with your process and to determine if there are any health risks that the screening does not address. Some areas to look at include:

Endocrine disruptors Carcinogens, Mutagens or Teratogens Recyclability
Aquatic Toxicity Eutrophication Disposal
Reproductive Toxicity Life Cycle Assessment Concentration
Neurotoxins/CNS Depressants Biodegradability Packaging
    Fragrances and Dyes

Other resources from TURI that you can use for Environmental and Health Assessements include:

Toxics Use Reduction Institute's P2 Option Assessment System
The Institute has developed a systematic tool that helps companies determine whether the TUR options they are considering may have unforeseen negative environmental, worker or public health impacts. P2OASys allows companies to assess the potential environmental, worker, and public health impacts of alternative technologies aimed at reducing toxics use. The goal is more comprehensive and systematic thinking about the potential hazards posed by current and alternative processes identified during the TUR planning process.


Outside TURI tools:

Score Card Environmental Defense's website
Enables visitors to easily access pollution reports covering toxic releases, air quality, and other environmental issues in their community. Scorecard averages around 100,000 unique visitors monthly, making it Google's top ranked website for information about toxic chemicals and local pollution. Since Scorecard's launch in 1998, other environmental information sources have come online, although it appears that no others spotlight the worst-ranked facilities nationwide or integrate health effect with emissions data.

Green Seal
The Green Seal is awarded to products that have less impact on the environment and work well. To earn the Green Seal a product must meet the Green Seal environmental standard for the category as demonstrated by rigorous evaluation and testing and a plant visit. Green Seal standards are set so that they identify the most environmentally preferable products currently available; thus, they are leadership standards.