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Indiana Relative Chemical Hazard Score (IRCHS)

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Indiana Relative Chemical Hazard Score(IRCHS)


Clean Manufacturing Technology Institute - Purdue University

IRCHS User Response Form

Please take a minute to complete the request for information. Your responses will assist the Institute in providing technology transfer that will be useful for all manufacturers. Thank you for your assistance.

Links to the IRCHS Measurement Method both in CAS and Alpha order are located at the bottom of this summary.


3P2M Summary

The January, 2002 issue of "CleanTech" contains an article about the Indiana Relative Chemical Hazard Score. Click here to read Solvent by the Numbers.

Indiana Relative Chemical Hazard Score (IRCHS)

[Formerly known as the Pollution Prevention Progress Measurement Method (3P2M)]

Two U.S. EPA Pollution Prevention Incentives for States (PPIS) grants were awarded in 1994 and 1996 to the Indiana Clean Manufacturing Technology and Safe Materials Institute to develop a method for ranking chemicals by their environmental and workplace hazards. The original name of and acronym for the method, 3P2M, was changed to IRCHS by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in 1997.

The major goal of the initial PPIS project was to develop a reliable measurement method applicable to Indiana manufacturers. This was accomplished with the assistance of the IRCHS Work Group, which consisted of industry representatives and academia researchers. The IRCHS team reviewed existing measurement methods and decided to expand upon the chemical ranking system developed by the University of Tennessee (UTN), pursuant to an earlier U.S. EPA grant. The UTN method evaluates each chemical separately and assigns the chemical a hazard value based upon hazard impact on environment, with emphasis upon the aquatic ecosystem. The team expanded the UTN algorithm to also include hazard impacts on air quality, potential soil and groundwater contamination, and stratospheric ozone depletion. This expanded algorithm assigns chemicals an environmental hazard value. The IRCHS team also developed an algorithm to assign a hazard value based upon a chemical’s impact on workplace employees. (See Final Report Development of a Worker Hazard Score for Individual Chemicals.) The two hazard values are combined and the average of the two becomes the combined hazard value for the chemical.

The combined hazard value allows comparative ranking of hazard among chemicals, but does not measure pollution prevention progress. The team chose to determine this measurement by multiplying the amount of the chemical used by its hazard value and normalizing the product by units of production. This would allow comparisons among scales of production and across time, providing a method adaptable to all stages of the product life cycle and all sizes of facilities and sectors. (See worksheet and instructions.)

During the second PPIS project, the work group investigated various universal definitions of "materials usage" and "units of production" and concluded that these terms would be best defined according to individual manufacturer’s standards. The IRCHS system was field tested and computer software was developed during the second grant project and provided to manufacturers upon request.

Hazard values have been assigned to over one thousand chemicals. The hazard values are on CMTI’s website, www.ecn.purdue.edu/CMTI, and the section of the website describing the ranking system and listing the hazard values averages 500 hits per month. All CERCLA hazardous substances, plus any additional chemicals commonly used by manufacturers, have been ranked. Chemicals on the Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) list that were not previously assigned a hazard value have also been ranked, and High Production Volume (HPV) chemicals were being ranked in Spring 2002.

The IRCHS system has been reviewed and used by several universities, government agencies and defense installations throughout the nation. MIT used the system to evaluate Massachusetts' Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) chemicals to determine whether or not the state’s manufacturers were releasing less toxic substances. Brooks Air Force Base is using the system to evaluate proposed chemical usage. The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance has adopted the system to evaluate products containing "listed metals". Environmental Defense [Fund] lists the IRCHS as the second of five "hazard ranking" systems that it uses to develop hazard scores for its Environmental Score Card. Information about the IRCHS system has also been requested by the following: Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the University of Cincinnati, the National Wildlife Association, Indiana University at Kokomo, the National Paint and Coatings Association, the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, the Styrene Information and Resource Center, EPA Pollution Prevention Division, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of Nebraska, Duke University, the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Pennsylvania Office of Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the City of Phoenix, AZ, and various international organizations, agencies and institutions.

Please contact Shayla Barrett by phone (765-463-4749) or E-mail (shayla@ecn.purdue.edu) for further information.

  • Indiana Relative Chemical Hazard Score - CAS Order (Updated 08/02/06)
  • Indiana Relative Chemical Hazard Score - Alpha Order (Updated 08/02/06)
  • Final Report - Development of a Worker Hazard Score for Individual Chemicals

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