Publications : 2017

Panko J, Hitchcock K, Fung M, Spencer PJ, Kingsbury T, Mason AM. 2017. A comparative evaluation of five hazard screening tools. Integr Environ Assess Manag 13(1):139–154.

See also: Panko J, Hitchcock K, Fung M, Spencer PJ, Kingsbury T, Mason AM. 2017. Letter to the Editor: Authors’ response to Turner et al. Integr Environ Assess Manag 13(1):15–16.


An increasing number of hazard assessment tools and approaches are being used in the marketplace as a means to differentiate products and ingredients with lower versus higher hazards or to certify what some call greener chemical ingredients in consumer products. Some leading retailers have established policies for product manufacturers and their suppliers to disclose chemical ingredients and their related hazard characteristics often specifying what tools to use. To date, no data exists that show a tool’s reliability to provide consistent, credible screening‐level hazard scores that can inform greener product selection. We conducted a small pilot study to understand and compare the hazard scoring of several hazard screening tools to determine if hazard and toxicity profiles for chemicals differ. Seven chemicals were selected that represent both natural and man‐made chemistries as well as a range of toxicological activity. We conducted the assessments according to each tool provider’s guidelines, which included factors such as endpoints, weighting preferences, sources of information, and treatment of data gaps. The results indicate the tools varied in the level of discrimination seen in the scores for these 7 chemicals and that tool classifications of the same chemical varied widely between the tools, ranging from little or no hazard or toxicity to very high hazard or toxicity. The results also highlight the need for transparency in describing the basis for the tool’s hazard scores and suggest possible enhancements. Based on this pilot study, tools should not be generalized to fit all situations because their evaluations are context‐specific. Before choosing a tool or approach, it is critical that the assessment rationale be clearly defined and matches the selected tool or approach.