Another source of information on emerging contaminants is the work of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program established by the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) of 1989. TURA, jointly administered by MassDEP, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and the Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (OTA) in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, is designed to protect public health and environment by encouraging the reduction in the use of toxic chemicals in Massachusetts manufacturing facilities.
The Act requires certain businesses that use more than a threshold amount of a “listed chemical” to report annually to MassDEP on the quantities they use in production, ship in product, waste in production, and release as pollution or ship offsite for treatment. In addition, every other year these businesses must evaluate opportunities to reduce their use of these toxic substances from both economic and technical perspectives, and identify any reduction methods they plan to implement. MassDEP publishes summaries of these annual toxics use reports and annual assessments of progress in toxics use reduction since the law’s inception.
Certain toxic chemicals on the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act Chemical List For Reporting are classified as “high hazard” or as “persistent bioaccumulative toxics” and have a lower reporting threshold than other listed chemicals. MassDEP has identified several of these as emerging contaminants, and some (such as trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene) have been designated as “high hazard substances.” The list is modified by the Toxics Use Reduction Administrative Council as new information about chemical toxicity and use becomes available. TURA established a Science Advisory Board and directed it to work with TURI to develop recommendations to the Council for listing new chemicals, delisting chemicals, and identifying high hazard substances on the basis of their toxicity.
TURI also collaborates with workers, businesses and academicians, and other government agencies to conduct research, and provide grants and training on toxics use reduction. TURI publishes notable reports such as Trends in the Use and Release of Carcinogens in Massachusetts, and provides information on nanotechnology through its work at its Lowell Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing.
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