On September 4, 2015 the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) published a review paper on “Alternatives assessment frameworks: Research needs for the informed substitution of hazardous chemicals.” According to authors Molly M. Jacobs and colleagues from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, U.S., and the University of California Los Angeles, U.S., alternatives assessment is “a process for identifying, comparing and selecting safer alternatives to chemicals of concern (…) on the basis of their hazards, performance, and economic viability.” The researchers reviewed 20 frameworks published from 1990 to 2014 and compared the methods used for six core components: hazard assessment, exposure characterization, life cycle impacts, technical feasibility evaluation, economic feasibility assessment, and decision-making. While the general process steps of the reviewed frameworks were consistent, Jacobs and colleagues identified differences in the addressed hazard endpoints and methodological gaps in exposure characterization, life cycle assessment, and decision-analysis. The researchers conclude that there is need for cross-disciplinary collaboration to achieve refinement and enhanced consistency of the methods and evaluation metrics used in alternatives assessment.
Jacobs, M. M. et al. (2015). “Alternatives assessment frameworks: Research needs for the informed substitution of hazardous chemicals.” Environmental Health Perspectives (advance publication September 4, 2015).