Why do we need ChemHAT

ChemHAT, the Chemical Hazard and Alternatives Toolbox, is an internet database designed to offer up easy to use information that we can use to protect ourselves, our families and our co-workers against the harm that chemicals can cause.

ChemHAT is based on the simple idea that when we know how a chemical can hurt us we can take protective action. There are solutions at the bottom of the hierarchy of controls. Sometimes that action is using the chemical wearing gloves or with extra ventilation. ChemHAT was designed to let us ask and answer a different question. Instead of what engineering controls and personal protective equipment do I need to lower the levels of exposure to a “safe” level, ChemHAT is being designed to answer the question, “Is there a way to get this job done without using dangerous chemicals? We know from stories of substitution and elimination that already exist, that the answer can be yes.

Chart showing examples of alternatives

Can we move up the hierarchy of controls to first identify the dangerous chemicals and the move to eliminate their use in favor of safer chemicals or other process changes? The first step in answering this question is to determine if a chemical is dangerous. That’s where we’re starting with ChemHAT. You can use it to answer the question “Can this chemical hurt my health?” Now that we’ve answered that question, the ChemHAT team is beginning to fill in the blanks on safer alternatives. We invite you to join us in identifying all the stories of safer substitutions for dangerous chemicals.