Can your chemicals get any safer?

Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) — Research for Safe Work

Can your chemicals get any safer?

Yes! It is often possible to switch from hazardous chemicals to less toxic alternatives. You can make your workplace safer for yourself and your employees. Here are new resources to help.

  1. In October, OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) announced a new toolkit: Transitioning to Safer Chemicals. The toolkit walks employers through the steps of finding a safer chemical, product, or process. This toolkit compiles resources in a single location to make your hazard assessment easier.
  2. Need inspiration in your substitution search? Look local. Methylene chloride is a chemical stripper (solvent) associated with fatal exposures. SHARP recently profiled two bathtub refinishing businesses who have successfully implemented alternatives. One Washington business leader has found success using a benzyl alcohol-based paint stripper, while the other has substituted with mechanical sanding. Learn more about methylene chloride here:
  3. How low can you go? Washington employers should already be complying with the PELs enforced in Washington State. Safer employers may choose to consider scientific evidence that supports controlling chemical exposures even further. Check out federal OSHA’s new ‘Annotated Permissible Exposure Tables’. The new annotated PEL tables provide a side-by-side glance of OSHA PELs for general industry along with (typically lower) California-OSHA PELs, NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limits, and ACGIH Threshold Limit Values.

Comments about this newsletter can be addressed to Carolyn Whitaker, CIH at

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