Publications : 2015

Mason AM, Spencer PJ, Panko JM. A pilot project reveals prominent hazard screening tools fall short on performance expectations. Poster at the 54th Annual Meeting and Society of Toxicology (SOT) Meeting, San Diego, CA, March 22–26, 2015.


An increasing number of hazard assessment tools/programs are being used by regulators and in the marketplace as a means to differentiate or certify “greener” chemicals and products. To date no data exist to demonstrate a tool’s reliability to provide consistent, credible screening level assessments to inform selection of a ‘greener’ product. A small pilot was conducted to assess five influential hazard screening tools (GreenScreen, USEPA Design for the Environment, GreenSuite, SciVera, and GreenWERCs), 1) for their ability to discriminate between toxicity profiles of 7 chemicals selectedto cover a range of toxicological activity and 2) for concordance of results between tools. Both industrial and natural chemicals were included in the assessment. The chemicals assessed by each tool were caffeine (CAS 58-08-2), citric acid (CAS 77-92-9), ethylene glycol (107-21-1), glycolic acid (79-14-1), dibutyl phthalate (84-74-20), Benzisothiazolinone (BIT, CAS 2634-33-5), and 1,2,4,6, 9,10 hexabromocyclododecane (HBCCD,CAS 3194,55-6). Assessments were conducted according to each tool developer’s guidelines which included factors such as endpoints, weighting preferences, sources of information and treatment of data gaps. Results indicate that within each tool, all 7 chemicals were ranked similarly, thus thwarting the discrimination of a ‘safer’ option. Results for the same chemical varied widely between the tools ranging from “safer” to “avoid.” These data bring into question the ability of results from the current version of hazard screening tools/programs to guide informed selection of chemicals and materials and highlights the need for a validation of such tools.