Hazardous Chemicals in Products Easier to Identify with GreenScreen® V1.3 + Pharos


Tom Lent - March 8, 2016

Clean Production Action (CPA) released the next version of the GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals Hazard Assessment Guidance, adding detailed information for using the GreenScreen® List Translator as a first step in identifying hazardous chemicals in products.  GreenScreen List Translator is a tool for readily identifying known chemicals of high concern to human health and the environment.  Companies will now be able to rapidly assess if products contain chemical hazards such as carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, or endocrine disrupting compounds, for example. This new guidance features the Healthy Building Network (HBN) Pharos Project online tools that automate the screening process. 

“Clean Production Action developed GreenScreen as a publicly available and transparent chemical hazard screening method to help move our society quickly and effectively toward the use of greener and safer chemicals,” said CPA’s GreenScreen Program Manager, Michelle Turner, PhD.  “It is used by a wide range of professionals, governmental bodies, non-profits, businesses, formulators, and product developers – anybody interested in assessing the inherent hazards of chemicals and their potential impacts.”

GreenScreen List Translator scores chemicals based on information from over 40 hazard lists developed by authoritative scientific bodies convened by international, national and state governmental agencies and NGOs.  The list includes REACH categorizations and chemical hazard classifications by countries using the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

Each of the lists specified for inclusion in the tool is mapped to hazard classifications, a hazard level or range, and a List Translator score. List Translator scores identify chemicals of highest concern to human health or the environment.  

GreenScreen List Translator is one part of the GreenScreen Hazard Assessment Guidance v1.3, which details how to apply GreenScreen in assigning Benchmark scores for a chemical based on its inherent hazards.

To aid in making this tool accessible for all users of GreenScreen, the Healthy Building Network developed software to automate List Translator scoring. The Pharos Chemical & Material Library  -- part of a suite of tools to evaluate the health and environmental impact of building materials -- provides easy online access to chemical hazard information. “Pharos is a low cost and easy to use database for rapidly screening chemicals,” explained Tom Lent, Policy Director for Healthy Building Network. “Applying GreenScreen List Translator rules results in identification of 2,700 chemicals as high concern and another 6,000 chemicals as potentially of high concern – all of which are in Pharos.”

GreenScreen List Translator takes a sizeable amount of GreenScreen complexity and simplifies it into something easy to use to identify chemicals of high concern and to do quick cross-referencing. It boasts a variety of other practical uses as well:

  • Earning Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) material inventory credits;
  • Aiding in the alternatives assessment process;
  • Prioritizing chemicals for further review and/or phase out;
  • Assisting in regulatory and non-regulatory standard compliance; and
  • Communicating materials goals and criteria to suppliers.

Through the Pharos platform, the GreenScreen List Translator supports a range of other disclosure, assessment and decision management tools, such as the Health Product Declaration (HPD) and Google’s Portico.

“As regulatory requirements and toxicology continue to evolve rapidly, and new hazard classifications, test data and science continue to emerge, GreenScreen helps users stay abreast of developments, make more informed decisions, reduce risk, and promote innovation,” said Turner.  

Upcoming Webinar to learn more: Thursday, March 24, noon – 1 EST: Learn about the List Translator methodology, how the Pharos Chemical and Material Library automates the process, and how you can apply these tools to promote use of safer chemicals in your organization. Register here.

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Clean Production Action (CPA) designs and delivers strategic solutions for green chemicals, sustainable materials and environmentally preferable products. CPA’s unique role is to translate the systems-based vision of clean production into the tools and strategies NGOs, governments and businesses need to advance green chemicals, sustainable materials and environmentally preferable products.  

The Healthy Building Network (HBN) works to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in building products as a means of improving human health and the environment. HBN performs independent, foundational research and product evaluations and develops tools to support chemical hazard assessment and product decision management.


Tom Lent is the Policy Director for the Healthy Building Network.