Many security professionals are leery of environmentalists, viewing them as at best a nuisance and at worst a possible threat. In recent years, however, members of both camps have found common ground on an emerging issue: use of inherently safer technologies (ISTs) to reduce or remove the risks that arise from manufacturing and transporting hazardous chemicals.
ISTs often involve substituting a less hazardous chemical in a process, such as water purification, in which use of ozone or specific types of radiation can replace dangerous chlorine gas, which is used in vast quantities nationwide for both wastewater treatment and purification of drinking water supplies. ISTs can, however, simply involve modified chemical processes, including reduced volumes of hazardous chemicals.
Use of ISTs has grown in the past decade, driven not only by the need to mitigate risk, but also by the fact that ISTs help operators avoid the heavy government regulation brought on by use of hazardous chemicals.
Though the IST concept has been around for several years (See “New Chemical Solutions” by Matthew Harwood, August 2007), it entered the mainstream late last year when The Clorox Company announced plans for a shift to ISTs in the manufacture of its namesake bleach....
(For the entire article "The Push for Safer Chemicals" from the March 2010 issue, please click here.)