Material Health Assessment Methodology

Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard Version 3.0

The purpose of this resource is to provide guidance on performing chemical hazard assessments and how they are used for material assessments. The overarching goal is to secure access to safe materials for use in products. In this methodology, the following are examined:

  1. Product Breakdown and Data Collection - Rules and guidelines for obtaining chemical compositions.

  2. Chemical Profiling Methods – Comprehensive guidance on 24 human and environmental health hazard endpoints and criteria.

  3. Metabolism Considerations – Considerations beyond the 24 hazard endpoints and how each are applied toward decision-making for material assessments, where applicable.

  4. Material Assessments – Guidance for evaluation of materials.

The boundaries of review is when the product leaves the final production facility. The process chemicals associated with the production of certain inputs are included, where applicable, as well as those process chemicals used in the final production of the product.

Efforts to minimize the use of hazardous chemicals and/or manage their exposure to the general population have clear indications of failure. Numerous studies have demonstrated the presence of hazardous chemicals in the tissues and blood of the general population, including chemicals that have been regulated for decades. With this knowledge, the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Product Material Health Assessment Methodology will be positioned as a transparency, optimization, and design protocol that gives manufacturers the tools to build products that are safe and healthy for humans and the environment from production to use to reuse. As knowledge advances over time, we will come to a greater understanding of how the manufactured environment interacts with the natural environment, and so it is through the Cradle to Cradle Certified CM Product Program that we hope to spur the “Next Industrial Revolution.”

The aim of the material health assessment methodology is to characterize the hazards of chemicals present in a product, and in turn generate material assessment ratings based on those hazards and their relative routes of exposure during the intended (and highly likely unintended) use and end-of-use product phases. Chemical composition data for materials is needed down to the 100 ppm level (0.01%) to generate full assessment ratings. A rating system has been developed to identify the continuum of risk— from those chemicals that pose the greatest hazard to those that pose little to no hazard. The purpose is to give product designers the opportunity to see those chemicals and materials that contain the greatest hazard in order to pick safer alternatives. 

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