Since 1990, the successful TURA program has helped Massachusetts businesses reduce toxics use by 40% and waste byproducts associated with that use by 71%. These reductions have lowered chemical transportation risk, workplace hazards, and the amount of toxics in manufactured products, and have helped Massachusetts businesses remain competitive in a global economy.
A principle reason for TURA's success is that companies covered by the program are required to develop and use a chemical tracking system. The tracking system helps companies understand their use of chemicals and where losses occur in the manufacturing process. Companies annually report their chemical use and the waste generation from the use to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
These same companies develop plans that identify options and evaluate alternatives that would reduce the use of these chemicals and the waste they generate. When alternatives that make good business sense are available, companies will frequently adopt these cost effective strategies, which lead to more efficient chemical use and a reduction in waste generation. Companies provide the MassDEP with a progress update every other year. A fact sheet with additional information about the TURA reporting and planning requirements is available from the MassDEP http://www.mass.gov/dep/toxics/turafact.pdf.
The TUR Act was amended in 2006 (Chapter 188 of the Acts of 2006) to build on the program's success and to meet the challenges of manufacturing in a global economy. Significant changes to the TUR Act include:
- Streamlined reporting requirements for industry
- Emphasis on more hazardous chemicals and a lower 1,000 pound reporting threshold for those chemicals
- Flexibility for companies to prepare resource conservation plans every other planning cycle for energy, water, or materials that contribute to solid waste
- Encouraging businesses to increase environmental performance through the development and implementation of an environmental management system (EMS)
- For more information about the 2006 amendments to TURA see the MassDEP fact sheet http://www.mass.gov/dep/toxics/turlegfs.pdf.
This report provides an update on the progress made by the interagency Task Force to implement the directives of Executive Order 515 during Fiscal Year 2012.
This report summarizes the progress of the Task Force in implementing the directives of Executive Order 515 during Fiscal Year 2011.
The total amount of toxic chemicals reported used in 2009 by companies subject to TURA reporting, (including trade secret data) was 881 million pounds. Of this total, the 2000 Core Group (industry categories and chemicals subject to reporting in 2000 and 2008) used 796 million pounds, or 90% of the total toxic chemicals reported used.
Adjusting the data to account for a 23% decrease in production from 2000 to 2009, over that nine-year period, the 2000 Core Group facilities reduced:
- Toxic chemical use by 21%
- Toxic byproducts by 38%
- Toxics shipped in product by 21%
- On-site releases of toxics to the environment by 56%
- Transfers of toxics off-site for further waste management by 23%
*The 2000 Core Group is a representative sampling of TURA filers that reported in 2000 and 2009. The reductions were between reporting year 2000 and reporting year 2009. For a copy of the full report please visit the MassDEP website. TURI also has a searchable site - http://www.turadata.turi.org/ for toxics use data. If you have any questions or comments concerning the TURA data site, please contact Heather Tenney.
TURA Program Accomplishments
In March 2013, the TUR Administrative Council issued a Progress Report on the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program. The report highlights the program's activities and achievements for TUR reporting year 2012, which also chronicles the actions taken by the Administrative Council and it's Advisory Committee, and the Science Advisory Board.
In May 2012, the TUR Administrative Council issued a Progress Report on the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program. The report highlights the program's activities and achievements for TUR reporting year 2011, which also chronicles the actions taken by the Administrative Council and it's Advisory Committee, and the Science Advisory Board.
In March 2011, the TUR Administrative Council issued a Progress Report on the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program. The report highlights the program's activities and achievements for TUR reporting year 2010, which also chronicles the actions taken by the Administrative Council and it's Advisory Committee, and the Science Advisory Board.
In May 2010, the TUR Administrative Council issued a Progress Report on the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program. The report highlights the program's activities and achievements for TUR reporting year 2009, which also chronicles the actions taken by the Administrative Council and it's Advisory Committee, and the Science Advisory Board.
In December 2008, the TUR Administrative Council issued a Progress Report on the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Program. The report highlights the program's activities and achievements since the passage of the 2006 Amendments and chronicles the actions taken by the Administrative Council and its Advisory Committee, and the Science Advisory Board.
TURA Publications and Articles
On October 27, 2009, Governor Patrick signed Executive Order #515, 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)".
Practical Guide to Toxics Use Reduction file size 6MB
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_reibstein.pdf 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.
This information is provided by the Office of Technical Assistance and Technology