Everyone wants to make safer products, but it's very easy (and common) to make "regrettable substitutions." In lots of cases companies preferentially pick chemicals with similar functional properties because there's simply less known about them. Unfortunately there's a good chance that the new chemical has hazards that are the same or worse than the one it's replacing. That's both regrettable and unnecessary. Comparisons are important not just to see relative hazard profiles but also data gaps. This post will show you how to make comparisons and share them so your whole company and supply chain can get on the same page and find real preferred alternatives.
Most comparisons start with a baseline substance, this may be what you use today or what most people in your industry are using. You can find this chemical by searching on the toxnot home page. Once you've searched, check the substance you want and click the 'Add to Comparison' button at the top of the search results like the figure below.
Once you've added the substance to a new comparison you can name it, which is handy for adding future substances and giving others a hint as to what you are comparing. To add more substances simply search for them and go through the same process but instead of adding them to a new comparison, add them to the one you just started and named.
The comparison view lets you see the complete hazard tables for both items to make a quick assessment of both relative hazards and data gaps. This example shows BPA and one of it's alternatives, and it looks like we need to be cautious in jumping to an alternative.
Sharing this with folks who are ready to promote BPA-free irrespective of the substitute shows the data gap and explains why you should do a hazard assessment before proceeding. In this case Bisphenol F isn't better, it's just unknown. Telling everyone your product is BPA-free is going to come back to bite you when someone fills in the data gap and it turns out to be the same or worse. Share this comparison by clicking the share button. Since you're sharing access to toxnot's third party database, with free public information, you can share it with whoever you like in your company or supply chain.
Now that you know more information is needed about a particular substance you can give it an upvote. This anonymously lets the rest of the community see that you would be interested in the data and sharing a fraction of the cost to produce it. If there's already a project running for the substance in question then you won't see an upvote button but instead a fund button so you can pitch in a little bit to get the work done now. More on that under our funding post.
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