Chemical Alternatives Assessments
A Collaborative Industry and University Alternative Assessment of Plasticizers for Wire and Cable
Published:17 Apr 2013
There is increasing regulatory and market pressure on companies to eliminate known chemicals of concern from their products. These companies can face significant challenges in identifying alternatives that are safer and effective. Switching to a new chemical can cost up to millions of dollars and no company wants to switch to a new chemical that later becomes a regulatory target. To assist these companies, the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3) launched a project in 2010 to develop and pilot a new model for companies and universities to evaluate collaboratively safer alternatives, with the aim of yielding more robust and cost‐effective results through pooling of knowledge and funding for evaluations. The pilot focused on alternatives to toxic plasticizers in PVC and non‐PVC wire and cable applications. The project workplan included assessing the relative hazard of the alternatives using the GreenScreen™, and also technical performance and cost. Chemical manufacturers, plastics compounders, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), a retailer and the University of Massachusetts Lowell successfully collaborated to assess nine alternative plasticizers and created a group process that can be repeated for other chemicals and applications. This chapter describes the process developed and lessons learned, including strategies used to assess plasticizers with proprietary ingredients.