GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals – your questions answered

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GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals – your questions answered

In this generation of TCO Certified, we’re moving to GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals – a new approach to reducing the content of hazardous substances in the products we certify.

Focusing on flame retardants, we are referring to GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals to assess non-halogenated flame retardants that have largely replaced the halogenated substances that are known hazards to human health and the environment. This new approach supports the goal of further identifying safer, environmentally preferable alternatives.

Read more about the New Generation TCO Certified

How to make sure your non-halogenated substances meet the criteria

Here we outline the process of meeting the criteria for non-halogenated substances in products you wish to certify. Note that this process clarifies only criterion A.6.4.3 – Non-Halogenated Substances. All products intended for TCO Certified must also pass complete product testing and verification.

GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals process
1The applicant / plastic manufacturer ensures that all plastics used in the product to be TCO Certified (both the outer casing and the panel) only use flame retardants with ingredients on the TCO Certified Accepted Substance List.
2If any substance used as a flame retardant ingredient is not on the Accepted Substance List, contact a licensed profiler listed on the CPA website.
3Licensed profiler conducts GreenScreen draft assessment of all ingredients in flame retardants not already on the List. GreenScreen draft report per substance sent to plastic manufacturer.
4Plastic manufacturer sends GreenScreen draft report to TCO Development. Substances with benchmark 2 or higher are placed on the TCO Certified Accepted Substance List.
5The substance will be included in the TCO Certified Accepted Substances List.

Assessing non-halogenated substances

All substances achieving a GreenScreen benchmark are assessed by licensed profilers accredited by Clean Production Action to carry out Green Screen Assessments. In TCO Certified, substances achieving a GreenScreen benchmark 2 or better are accepted for compliance with the criteria for non-halogenated substances.

GreenScreen Benchmarks
 
Benchmark 4
Few concerns
Preferable
 
Benchmark 3
Slight concern
Improvement possible
 
Benchmark 2
Moderate concern
Use but search for substitutes
 
Benchmark 1
High concern
Avoid
 
Unspecified
Insufficient data to assign a benchmark

GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals – Frequently asked questions

During the draft comment periods and now as many of you are beginning your product pre-testing, we have received many questions about how to comply with GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals and the TCO Certified Accepted Substance List.

TCO Certified aims at guiding manufacturers towards safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals used today. Previously we referred to a number of risk phrases/hazard statements but such an approach has its limitations. One of the main concerns with a risk phrase/hazard statement-based criterion is that no risk phrases/hazard statements for a chemical can either mean “no hazard” or “data gap”. GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals is a method for comparative Chemical Hazard Assessment (CHA) and builds on the US EPA DfE approach and other national and international precedents (REACH, OECD, GHS). We have reviewed other assessment tools but selected GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals since we consider it has several advantages:

  • Based on a structured decision logic
  • Looks at all constituents
  • Looks at several stages in the life cycle of the chemical such as transformation/breakdown products and also includes the environmental evaluation of those
  • Takes into account new studies/data and assessments are updated every few years. Benchmarks are only valid for 3 years
  • Considers 18 environmental and human health endpoints
  • Helps close data gaps by providing incentives for companies to produce data (chemicals missing important data are downgraded to a lower Benchmark or listed as “Unspecified”)
  • We know what we allow and not only what we ban
  • Information is freely and publicly accessible, transparent and peer reviewed.
A GreenScreen evaluation of a substance covers 18 human and environmental health hazard endpoints. Each of the 18 hazards receives a classification of concern ranging from Very High to Very Low. Based on these classifications the substance is then assigned an overall Benchmark score of 4, 3, 2, 1 or U. Benchmark 1 is the lowest score and according to CPA, aligns with the criteria for Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) in the European Reach Regulation. A substance assigned U (undefined) is due to data gaps, where too much important data is missing.
To be accepted by TCO Certified, all assessments and reassessments shall be conducted by a licensed GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals profiler. Licenced profilers are organizations approved by Clean Production Action, that have demonstrated expertise in toxicology and chemistry and that have the capacity to provide GreenScreen assessments on a consulting basis. The licensed profilers are kept up to date on all method revisions, and CPA audits their application of the method to ensure that it is being applied as intended.
This is the list of substances approved for use as flame retardants in TCO Certified products. The list is found on the TCO Development web site. The list is dynamic, which allows new substances that have undergone a valid assessment to be added or for approved substances to come under reassessment in light of new scientific findings.
A CAS number is a unique identifier for a chemical substance. This is important since the same substance may have several different product names. The product name of a flame retardant does not give any information on the ingredient(s). Some stakeholders in the industry prefer that CAS numbers are not disclosed as it may reveal trade secrets of flame retardants. These stakeholders prefer that the products name of the flame retardant are listed instead.

  • By listing the CAS numbers it is possible for any stakeholder to question the GreenScreen assessment and benchmark score as the assessed substance is known.
  • By listing the CAS numbers the assessment of a substance will only have to be done once, saving time and money.
  • By listing the CAS numbers the flame retardant ingredients in TCO Certified products are known.
Moving from a risk phrase/hazard statement-based criterion to GreenScreen is significant for certifying applicants and we have therefore decided to start with flame retardants where there is quite a lot of data already available from projects such as EPA Design for Environment and the EU ENFIRO-project.
This decision is based on current knowledge on alternative flame retardants. Restricting flame retardants with benchmark score 1 gives industry enough options for safer alternatives. As our list of preferred chemicals is filled we will of course see when there are enough alternatives with benchmark 3 or 4 for us to also progressively limit the use of benchmark 2 chemicals.
  1. An applicant company wants to certify a product.
  2. The applicant needs to contact their plastic manufacturer to ensure that all plastics used in the product to be TCO Certified (both the outer casing and the panel) only use flame retardants with ingredients on the “TCO Certified Accepted Substance List”.
  3. If any substance used as a flame retardant ingredient is not on the “TCO Certified Accepted Substance List” then the plastic manufacturer must contact one of the licensed profilers listed on the CPA website.
  4. The licensed profiler conducts a normal GreenScreen draft assessment of all ingredients in the flame retardant that are not already on the list and sends the full GreenScreen draft report per substance to the plastic manufacturer.
  5. The plastic manufacturer sends the full GreenScreen draft report to TCO Development who will place the substance on the TCO Certified Accepted Substance List as long as the benchmark score is higher or equal to 2. TCO Development will keep one copy of the GreenScreen report as a source file for the list.
  6. When the applicant gets an approval confirmation from their plastic manufacturer the applicant may continue the application process. This involves signing all environmental and social templates and sending the product for testing at an approved test facility (listed on TCO Development webpage). One template that the applicant needs to sign is the template confirming that all substances used in flame retardants in plastics are on the TCO Certified Accepted Substance List. The accepted test laboratory reviews all signed templates and test reports and issues a one page verification report stating that the product complies with the criteria in TCO Certified.
  7. Finally the applicant can take their verification report and send it together with the application to TCO Development. TCO Development issues the certificate.
The substances on the TCO Certified Accepted Substance List will remain on the list until new information (new GreenScreen report possibly with a verification stage) is provided which prove that the benchmark shall be lower than 2. If that happens the substance will be given a sunset date of at least one year until it will be removed from the list.
DOWNLOAD GREENSCREEN IN-DEPTH FAQ

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2017-03-06T09:59:10+00:00 15 September, 2015|Categories: Development projects, News|Tags: , , |