On October 27, 2009, Executive Order #515 was signed, establishing an Environmental Purchasing Policy for all Commonwealth Executive Departments to help conserve natural resources, reduce waste, protect public health and the environment, and promote the use of clean technologies, recycled materials, and less toxic products. This new policy requires all Commonwealth Executive Departments to reduce their impact on the environment and enhance public health by procuring Environmentally Preferable Products and services whenever such products and services are readily available, perform satisfactorily, and represent the best value to the Commonwealth. The Executive Order represents a transition from simply identifying and qualifying environmentally preferable products that state agencies should buy to requiring their purchase by state agencies when appropriate. This report contains a summary of program activity related to EO 515.
The Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (OTA) prepared and completed in May 2013 A Report on Barriers to Reducing the Use of Asthma-Related Chemicals. The report compares what we know about the use of three asthma-related chemicals, (chlorine, formaldehyde, and isocyanates), showing how the lack of information about use and chemical use reduction options is a barrier to reducing use outside of TURA. (The use of these chemicals by companies covered by TURA has significantly reduced over time). The report contains recommendations to the Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) Administrative Council on actions that might help reduce the use of asthma-related chemicals, an important strategy for the prevention of this disease, which is rising in Massachusetts.
OTA has completed a report entitled: "The Assessment of Barriers to Toxic Use Reduction, Pollution Prevention and Resource Conservation." The 2006 Amendments to the Toxics Use Reduction Act charge OTA with assessing barriers to business implementation of toxics use reduction, pollution prevention and resource conservation. OTA found that the primary reasons appear to be that companies not adopting these practices were concerned about costs and possible negative impacts on the quality of their product. However, there are indications that many companies chose not to implement environmentally preferable alternatives on the basis of perception, without necessarily substantiating assumptions about the alternative practices. The research also found that when specific examples of actual projects were considered, as opposed to consideration of barriers in general, costs were ranked as less important. Technical issues increased in importance when specific examples were considered, than when barriers (and actions to overcome them) were discussed in the abstract. Actions that may be effective in increasing adoption of the practices the Toxics Use Reduction Act promotes include: trials and demonstrations coupled with cost-benefit information, correcting perceptions, stronger incentives, tax breaks, and better regulatory drivers. For more information contact: Rick Reibstein, MA OTA (617) 626-1062, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Administrative Council (Council), which coordinates implementation of the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA), has designated six chemicals as Higher Hazard Substances, and nine as Lower Hazard Substances. Users of Higher Hazard Substances should know that the reporting threshold for these chemicals is 1,000 instead of 10,000 (or 25,000) pounds. Users of Lower Hazard Substances must report on their use of the chemical, but do not have to pay the per-chemical part of the TURA fee. The complete list of chemicals on the higher and lower hazard chemical list is available in this fact sheet.
OTA has released the results of a two-year study using new methods to analyze Toxics Use Reduction Act data to assess the impact of its own onsite-assistance service. Companies visited by OTA performed better than companies not visited on nearly every measure examined. An independent study by Boston University researchers also found strong indications of OTA effectiveness.
This guidance document focuses on TURA Environmental Management Systems. Its purpose is to help TURA facilities understand the requirements of the TURA EMS alternative to TUR planning, review the required elements of a TURA EMS (see 310 CMR 50.80), and provide direction on locating additional resources. For information on implementing a Resource Conservation plan, please see MassDEP's guidance "Resource Conservation Planning Guidance under the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA)".
OTA developed the Practical Guide for use as a manual by all Massachusetts institutions that use toxics. The manual should be used as a do-it-yourself guide for small and mid-sized firms that lack in-house TUR expertise yet wish to launch TUR programs. If you have any questions about the manual or would like on-site technical assistance call 617-626-1060.
Sustain TUR Assistance Article by Rick Reibstein file size 1MB
Rick Reibstein, OTA Senior Environmental Analyst, recently had an article published in the journal, Sustain, a publication from the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of Louisville. The article was a summary of the effectiveness study completed last year.
Rick Reibstein, Senior Environmental Analyst from OTA was published in the Winter 2005 edition of Environmental Quality Management. The article stressed the importance of integrating pollution prevention into emergency planning for facilities.