UMass Lowell Toxics Use Reduction Institute Laboratory

12:45 PM

TURA 20th Anniversary Leader

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M.D. Stetson Recognized for Environmental Leadership
Mass.-made products improve public health in schools, universities and municipalities

LOWELL, Mass. – Fifteen years ahead of the “green” revolution, a small company in Randolph, Mass., M.D. Stetson, re-formulated a line of janitorial cleaning products without hazardous chemicals.
Today, the Company that employs 45 people is one of 17 Massachusetts companies being recognized by legislators and the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) Program as a “TURA 20th Anniversary Leader.” The awards and facility tours are intended to showcase environmental accomplishments—use of safer materials, waste reductions and energy savings—since the Toxics Use Reduction Act was enacted in 1989.
“We selected M.D. Stetson for its foresight and dedication in supplying public schools, universities and municipalities with green cleaning solutions way ahead of the spike in awareness of green products,” said Jason Marshall, laboratory director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell, who provided the third party performance testing of M.D. Stetson’s cleaning products. “The company was proactive in developing the market, asking customers to try the safer products while still supplying the traditional products. Changing the mindset of customers demonstrates the depth of the company’s leadership.”
The changes made by M.D. Stetson have been cost neutral, while providing many positive health and environmental impacts and, often, better performance. Since 1993, the company has reduced its use of glycol ethers from 176,000 to 75,000 lbs. and expects to eliminate the use of the solvents within the next few years. According to the EPA, short-term exposure to high levels of glycol ethers in humans results in narcosis, pulmonary edema, and severe liver and kidney damage. Long-term exposure may result in neurological and blood effects, including fatigue, nausea, tremor, and anemia.
“I am honored to accept this award and recognition on behalf of my employees and customers,” said president of M.D. Stetson Michael Glass. “I’ve always been proud of our company for doing what’s right and manufacturing and selling our products here in Massachusetts. Eighty percent of American jobs are with small businesses like ours.”

For a full schedule of company tours, visit the TURI website.
12:06 PM

Lab update of activities for February 2010

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Green Cleaning Testing
Site Visits
Toluene replacement piloted
The company was visited last week and a walk-through of the process was conducted. Talked to the managers of the project about adhesion testing results which resulted in some tests that they were going to run and have those parts tested for adhesion to see where the issue is with the cleaning. Plans were made to drop off samples of one other aqueous cleaner as well as an Activeion unit for them to try this week and continue to work on the substitution.

Scheduled visit with cable manufacturing company
We will get to see the new PVC cleaning system in action.
There will be a discussion about another project they want the lab to work on.
The idea of creating a case study with them and their other facility about moving from mechanical cleaning to chemical and how it went over all.

Site visit being scheduled with a tool manufacturer
The visit will focus on their switch from TCE to nPB and to talk about the new Massachusetts cold solvent regulations and to get them in compliance. We will be talking about working on a case study of their decrease in chemical use and waste disposal after switching to nPB. They are down 25% in their chemical use. They are also interested in any other TUR ideas they can work on. Going to talk to them about moving some of their vapor degreasing to aqueous for the less geometric parts.

Product Performance Testing
The lab has been working with three manufacturers of janitorial/household cleaners. Testing has been conducted to help these products get Green Seal and/or EPA DfE certification/recognition. Areas of testing included this month: all purpose, bathroom, glass, manual dishwashing, carpet stain cleaning, floor finish durability. Overall, the lab has worked with 8 companies since July and conducted 40 trials (no change from last month as many of the projects are gathering materials for testing discussed in Jan and Feb).

Participated in call with EPA DfE Safer Labeling program to talk about what lab does for performance testing. Lab will be working on helping the DfE program to improve wording used in their methodology.

Contacted ASTM to participate in the development of new cleaning standard for kitchen cleaning – replacing hard surface/wall cleaning standard that was dropped by ASTM.

Email discussion with Green Seal about work practices of the lab and test methods utilized for their cleaning standards.


Updated testing data for January and February.
Added resource links to ToxServices for DfE program on both the TURI Lab page and CleanerSolutions database.


Working on the 20th anniversary tour stop at MD Stetson on March 15. See next post for more details.

Contacted by a couple of companies to help with Earth day celebrations. Investing which will be best bang for the buck for the lab and TURI.

Status of How Effective Are ‘Green’ Cleaners?
The partnership to promote the work that the lab does in testing safer products:
Article "Measuring Green Cleaning" for Cleaning and Maintenance Magazine.
First High Performance Cleaning Product column in Executive Housekeeping Today (IEHA) about Activeion in April.
Press release from IEHA on TURI cleaning methods: ISSA and CMM

Disinfection Testing Partnership within UML SHE
Nancy Goodyear in Clinical Science labs on the UML campus met with TURI Lab and Dr. Quinn to discuss possible collaboration. The meeting resulted in a strong interest from Nancy. The partnership will start out by looking at how to compare the ATP measurement with traditional analytical methods for biological evaluations.

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