Alternatives assessment (AA) is an overarching term for the process of identifying, comparing, and selecting safer alternatives to chemicals that might pose a risk to humans or the environment. At a minimum, AA should take into account as many decision criteria as possible to ensure a robust evaluation of options. Depending on the nature of the comparison, life-cycle impacts, technical feasibility, and economic feasibility may also be considered as objectives.
To date, there is no standard (AA) method. Instead, many frameworks have been produced, each with foci that largely align with the discipline producing the method. This is problematic because it introduces an inherent priority to a subset of AA components, such as hazard, instead of all components important to a decision. Ideally, AA should be flexible to: (i) account for all possible objectives, (ii) allow stakeholders to prioritize them, and (iii) highlight potential trade-offs in meeting some objectives over others.
Funders: This project is funded by the American Chemistry Council (ACC).