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OTA Reports on Toxics Use Reduction and Technical Assistance

Find reports and articles about toxics use reduction and the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program.

The Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (OTA) has produced these reports and provided them here for informational purposes. Please reference current regulations for updated compliance information.

Toxics Use Reduction and Resource Conservation Report

This overview summarizes and updates selected TURA program resources on the business impacts of toxics use reduction and resource conservation.

Many businesses are saving on their annual operating costs as a direct result of toxics use reduction or resource conservation efforts. There are also cases in which businesses choose to make changes that actually increase their annual operating costs. This document presents examples of both experiences, notes the individual business factors that have influenced their decisions, and considers the competitiveness benefits these businesses have experienced.

This overview includes information about very small, family-owned businesses, small to mediumsized businesses, and multinational businesses with thousands of employees. It includes a number of sectors, ranging from local, service-oriented sectors such as garment cleaning and auto repair to manufacturing sectors such as coatings and plating formulations, biotechnology and medical devices, and electronics.

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.

Additional Resources for A Report on Barriers to Reducing the Use of Asthma‐Related Chemicals

The Assessment of Barriers to Toxics Use Reduction, Pollution Prevention, and Resource Conservation

The 2006 Amendments to the Toxics Use Reduction Act charged the Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (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.

The Effect of Providing On-site Technical Assistance for Toxics Use Reduction

The Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (OTA) produced this report as the result 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.

Final Report: The Economic & Operational Impact of Environmental Regulations and New International Standards On Your Business

To help the industry realize its potential contribution to economic development in Massachusetts, the Office of Technical Assistance and Technology (OTA) launched a study of the potential environmental barriers that might impede the growth of the industry in Massachusetts.

Barriers to Eliminating Chlorinated Solvent Use In Cleaning Operations At Massachusetts Manufacturers

SAK Environmental, LLC (SAK) was retained by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Office of Technical Assistance (OTA). The primary purpose of this project was to identify barriers to reducing or eliminating chlorinated solvent use for manufacturing companies in Massachusetts.

Articles on Toxics Use Reduction

Rick Reibstein, former OTA Senior Environmental Analyst, 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 was also published in the Winter 2005 edition of Environmental Quality Management. The article stressed the importance of integrating pollution prevention into emergency planning for facilities.

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