The Quick Chemical Assessment Tool (QCAT) is a simplified chemical hazard assessment tool developed by the Washington Department of Ecology to provide a streamlined method to evaluate potential toxic chemical hazards. Using a rigorous method to perform these comparisons allows an organization to assess chemical ingredients on a level playing field and to look for safer alternatives.
The QCAT is based on Clean Production Action’s GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals, which itself builds off of U.S. EPA’s Design for the Environment’s chemical hazard assessment process. QCAT uses a more limited set of potential hazards and a more focused dataset than the comprehensive GreenScreen system. This makes it easier to master and quicker to complete. Some large companies have used the QCAT as an initial screening tool to narrow their choices before diving into a more in-depth chemical analysis. QCAT is particularly good at identifying chemicals that should be avoided.
Despite being simplified, the QCAT still offers a thorough, effective look at nine hazard endpoints in four categories:
- Carcinogenic, mutagenic and reproductive toxics:
- Acute mammalian toxics:
- Acute aquatic toxics: and
- Persistent and bioaccumulative toxics.
Ecology makes the QCAT methodology available for free on its website and offers regular trainings that have been attended by occupational health and safety managers, environmental compliance specialists, product development staff, and chemists and toxicologists from a number of large international companies. These trainings – typically offered as one-day workshops – give participants a working knowledge of the QCAT system, and also serve as a general introduction to the science of chemical hazard assessment.
Ecology is training all of its pollution prevention specialists to conduct QCATs for the businesses they work with.
Completed QCATs, whether done by Ecology or other authoritative sources, are posted to the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse Chemical Hazard Assessment Database, allowing others to learn from and build on our experience.
Results to date:
- Eight QCAT workshops and webinars held;
- More than 200 attendees at QCAT workshops and webinars; and
- 10 QCATs completed and posted to the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse database.