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2023 A4 Symposium - Agenda

Tuesday, October 24

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

SHORT COURSE: Social Hotspot Database Project

This year's Symposium theme, "Enhancing Safety, Health and Equity" includes a special focus on advancing environmental justice and equity considerations in alternatives assessments. Although environmental justice has its roots in the United States, the concept is highly linked to social justice and related human rights issues that form the basis of global environmental and social governance (ESG) initiatives.

The Social Hotspots Database Project aims to foster greater collaboration in improving social conditions worldwide by providing the data and the tools necessary for improved visibility of social hotspots in product supply chains. Symposium short course participants can expect to learn about: (1) key attributes applicable to alternatives assessments to evaluate social impacts of chemical/product manufacturing globally using tools such as social life cycle assessment; (2) how to use the social hotspots database; and (3) lessons learned from the instructor and participants to support evaluating and utilizing information about social hotspots to inform chemical selection decisions.

Please note, registration is separate from the A4 Symposium.

INSTRUCTOR: Gregory Norris, Co-Creator and Executive Director, Social Hotspot Database 

Wednesday, October 25

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM

Registration & Light Breakfast with Refreshments

8:30 AM – 8:45 AM

Opening Remarks

PRESENTER: Lauren Heine, President, A4

8:45 AM – 10:00 AM

SESSION 1: Working with Environmental Justice Communities to Advance Safer Alternatives – Lessons Learned

Over the years, substitution support programs have prioritized working with environmental justice populations to replace hazardous chemicals used in products and processes to remedy disproportionate exposures and impacts. In this session, panelists reflect on their experiences while working with environmental justice populations to support the adoption and use of safer alternatives. Lessons learned reveal insights for needs that should be considered to enhance protections of environmental justice communities not only as substitutes are being implemented, but also during the alternatives assessment process.

MODERATOR:  Veena Singla, Natural Resources Defense Council 


Pamela Eliason, Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute

Fanaye Amsalu, Public Health, Seattle & King County 

Mohamed Ali, King County Hazardous Waste Management

Dung Nguyen, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Networking Break

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM

KEYNOTE 1: Presented by Robin Collin, Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice at the U.S. EPA and Professor at Willlamette University

MODERATOR: Margaret Whittaker, ToxServices 

Robin Collin is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Senior Advisor to the to the Administrator for Environmental Justice. She advises Administrator Regan as the Agency works to advance environmental justice and civil rights in communities that continue to suffer from disproportionately high pollution levels, including low-income communities and communities of color. Collin is nationally recognized for her leadership and scholarship in the areas of sustainability, energy, and environmental justice having served as the Norma Paulus Professor of Law at Willamette University in Oregon.

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

SESSION 2: Case Studies in Alternatives Assessment Practice

The practice of conducting alternatives assessment informs method development needs and advances for the field. This session showcases recent alternatives assessments with a specific focus on electronic and consumer products. Criteria for new hazard endpoints and insights from the use of alternatives assessment to evaluate alternative processes (as opposed to alternative chemistries) are among the themes explored.

MODERATOR: Tom Lewandoski, Gradient 


Alternatives Assessment for N-Methyl Pyrrolidone Substitution in Poly (Vinylidene Fluoride)-Containing Lithium-Ion Batteries
Maxime Léger, McGill University

Aluminum Cookware As a Source of Lead Exposure in the United States
Katie Fellows, Hazardous Waste Management Program, King County

Managing PMT/vPvM Substances in Consumer Products Through the Concepts of Essential-use and Functional Substitution
Romain Figuière, Stockholm University

Printed Circuit Boards to Nanopowder: An Alternatives Assessment Approach
Haoyang He, University of California Irvine

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM


1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

SESSION 3: Mixtures and Safer Alternatives (Interactive Discussion)

Over the last decade, alternatives assessment practice has evolved, and methods are beginning to address hazards at the formulated product-level, rather than individual chemical-level assessments which continue to be the focus of most alternatives assessment frameworks. This session concludes a 3-part workshop series to advance methods for addressing chemical mixtures in product-level alternative assessments. Highlights from the 2-virtual workshops preceding the Symposium (held on September 20th and October 6th), which focused on the merits and limitations of current methods being used to support the assessment of chemical mixtures in alternatives assessment as well as other aligned fields will be described. Insights revealed from these earlier workshops and input from Symposium participants will be used to identify research and practice needs to evolve the conduct of product-level alternative assessments.

Attendees are encouraged to listen to recordings of the first two workshops prior to the Symposium:

September 20 - Workshop 1 Recording

October 6 - Workshop 2 Recording

MODERATOR: Stephen Ferguson, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences


Highlights from Workshops 1 and 2
Molly Jacobs, Sustainable Chemistry Catalyst, UMass Lowell

Facilitated Discussion: What are specific needs and opportunities to improve and align product-level hazards assessments to support informed substitution decisions?

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Networking Break


3:30 PM – 4:45 PM

SESSION 4: New Methods, Resources and Tools to Advance Identification and Evaluation of Alternatives

Alternatives assessment methodologies and tools are important for the identification, evaluation, and comparison of chemical alternatives to chemicals of concern. This session will present a variety of new approaches, from screening methods, to specific in silico tools, to approaches for lifecycle thinking that evaluate the safety and sustainability of processes and products.

MODERATOR: Steve Bennett, Household and Commercial Products Association 


Toward Holistic Design-vectoring Platforms for Developing Safer Chemicals from Renewables
Jakub Kostal, George Washington University

Screening for Safer Product Types: Accounting for Fenceline Community and Worker Impacts to Support More Equitable Choices
Rebecca Stamm, Healthy Building Network

Circularity as a Driver for Alternatives Assessment
Evelyn Ritter, Toxnot by 3E

4:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Day 1 Closing Remarks

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

SESSION 5: Poster Session and Reception 

Learn about a range of informed substitution and alternatives assessment activities in this array of poster presentations featuring methods, practice, and policy topics.

POSTER 1. Assessing the Growth of the Field of Alternatives Assessment over the Last 10 Years
- Monika Roy, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy

POSTER 2. Considerations for Nanomaterials in Alternatives Assessment
- Aude Bechu, Sustainable Chemistry Catalyst, UMass Lowell

POSTER 3. Deconstructing Regulatory Alternatives Assessment: What's It Good For?
- Timothy Malloy, UCLA School of Law

POSTER 4. Identifying Safer Alternatives: By CAS Number, by Trade Name or By Application?
- Gabby Rigutto, ChemFORWARD

POSTER 5. Use of the Functional Substitution Approach to Build a Database of Alternatives to Uses of PFAS
- Romain Figuière, Stockholm University

POSTER 6. Using NAMs to Support Hazard Identification of Potentially Problematic Alternatives to 6PPD in Motor Vehicle Tires
- Lynn Nakayama Wong, California Department of Toxic Substances Control

POSTER 7. Using Tiered Reimbursement to Promote Safer Alternatives at Washington State Automotive Repair Shops
- Thatcher Montgomery, Washington Department of Ecology

POSTER 8. A definition and criteria for "sustainable chemistry" for use by government, industry, investors and in education
- Joel Tickner, Sustainable Chemistry Catalyst, UMass Lowell 

POSTER 9. Safe and Sustainable by Design: A computer-based approach to redesign chemicals for reduced environmental hazards
- Joanke van Dijk, Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

Thursday, October 26

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM

Light Breakfast with Refreshments

8:30 AM – 8:45 AM

Welcome & Day 1 Review

PRESENTER: Tim Malloy, Vice President, A4

8:45 AM – 10:15 AM

SESSION 6: Evolving Alternatives Assessment Practice to Include Equity and Environmental Justice Considerations

Beginning with a 2017 discussion paper on addressing gaps related to protecting vulnerable populations in the conduct of an alternatives assessment, several efforts have been launched to identify specific strategies to better attend to the disproportionate burdens of environmentally-related disease among disadvantaged communities in the transition towards safer alternatives. This interactive session seeks input on a set of draft recommendations for addressing environmental justice and equity considerations in alternatives assessment.

MODERATOR: Sally Edwards, UMass Lowell


Krishana Abrahim-Petrie, NEWMOA

Molly Jacobs, Sustainable Chemistry Catalyst, UMass Lowell

Abigail Noble, Consultant, Sustainable Chemistry Catalyst, UMass Lowell

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM

Networking Break

10:45 AM – 11:15 AM

KEYNOTE 2: Presented by Dianne Barton, Water Quality Coordinator at the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and Chair of the National Tribal Toxics Council

MODERATOR: Colleen McLoughlin, Scivera 

Dianne Barton is the chair of the National Tribal Toxics Council, an EPA advisory group advocating for tribal interests in policy decisions on toxics. Barton is also the Water Quality Coordinator for the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission where she provides technical expertise related to water quality, environmental toxics, regulatory processes, and fate and transport of contaminants.

11:15 AM – 12:30 PM

SESSION 7: Advancing Safer and Feasible Alternatives to 6PPD in Tires

Tires contain antioxidants and antiozonants to prevent rubber degradation, which can lead to tire failure. 6PPD (known as N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N’phenyl-p-phenylenediamine) is widely used for this function across the tire industry. Recent research has revealed that 6PPD-quinone, a reaction product of 6PPD, is highly toxic to coho salmon and other trout species at all life stages and a primary cause urban runoff mortality syndrome. This session will feature how environmental injustices elevated 6PPD as a priority target for substitution efforts as well as recent research and policy efforts that are guiding the development and evaluation of safer alternatives.

MODERATOR: Shari Franjevic, Washington State Department of Ecology


6PPD: Setting the Stage
Ed Kolodziej, University of Washington Tacoma

PPD Alternatives and Coho Aquatic Toxicity 
Jen McIntyre
, Washington State University

Washington Department of Ecology Actions to Assess 6PPD Alternatives
Craig Mahanan, Washington State Department of Ecology

Queuing up the Environment Justice Problem with 6PPD: SCP’s Regulation of 6PPD in Tires and Considerations for the Alternatives Analysis
Kelly Grant, California Department of Toxic Substances Control

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM


Student Lunch with A4 Mentors in Alternatives Assessment/Informed Substitution

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

SESSION 8: Aligning and Incorporating the "Other" Sustainability Metrics for PFAS Alternatives

Part 2 in the hybrid workshop series: Considering Both Safety and Sustainability in the Selection of PFAS Alternatives, organized by Change Chemistry and ZDHC Roadmap to Zero.

Information on Part 1 - Challenges, Successes, and Needs for PFAS Substitution: Supporting the Transition to Safer Alternatives can be found here.

In addition to hazard-based criteria that support evaluation and designation of alternatives as safer, companies are increasingly required to consider several “other” attributes like climate impacts, lifecycle, circularity, biodiversity, all while balancing cost and performance. While these challenges are not unique to PFAS substitution, the topic presents a valuable opportunity to tap into cross-industry perspectives. Through these discussions we can determine how to better manage trade-offs by conducting well-rounded alternatives assessment. This interactive session will share panel and audience perspectives on evaluating the “other” sustainability attributes in the context of an alternatives assessments and orient our community of practice towards a consensus on methods and best practices.

MODERATOR: Cathy Rudisill, Safer Chemistry Advisory


- Andrew Gonzalez, Anthesis Group

- Nathaniel Sponsler, AFIRM Group

- Alex Lauver, Outdoor Research

- Sally Edwards, UMass Lowell

Small group and facilitated plenary discussions.

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Networking Break

3:30 PM – 4:45 PM

SESSION 9: Capacity Building and Best Practices for Alternatives Assessment

The field of alternatives assessments has grown rapidly over the last decade. In this session we will learn from training and guidance development efforts that are building capacity to support alternatives assessment and emerging best practices for 3-party certification programs.

MODERATOR: Art Fong, Apple


Incorporating New Best Practices for AAs into the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse Alternatives Assessment Guide
Rae Eaton, Washington Department of Ecology

An Overview of Hazard Assessment Best Practices in Third Party Standards and Ecolabels
Rachel Simon, Global Electronics Council

Toxics Use Reduction Planner Certification as an Essential Credential for Alternatives Assessment Practitioners
Pamela Eliason, Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI)

Lessons Learned: Teaching and Promoting Alternatives Assessment in Sweden [Pre-recorded presentation]
Nina Melander, Swedish Center for Chemical Substitution, RISE

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM

Closing Remarks

A recap and discussion on next steps.

PRESENTER: Joel Tickner, Executive Director, A4