Problem: Successful public health programs need support
The Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) is a Massachusetts law that was enacted in 1989 and amended in 2006. At the time it was passed, it was a groundbreaking piece of legislation that made Massachusetts a leader on toxics use reduction.
TURA requires Massachusetts companies that use large quantities of certain toxic chemicals to evaluate and plan for pollution prevention opportunities, implement them if practical, and annually measure and report the results.
The law created the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, based at UMass Lowell and recognized as an international leader in its field, and the Office of Technical Assistance. These two agencies, along with the Department of Environmental Protection, work together to implement the program.
TURA has been an incredibly successful program. According to it’s 25th Anniversary report, “From 1990 to 2013, Massachusetts Companies reduced toxic chemical use by 48 percent, waste by 77 percent and on-site releases by 91 percent.” In addition, many companies have reported costs savings from working with the program.
The TURA act requires that Massachusetts companies complete plans and consider ways to reduce toxics, but it does not mandate that companies stop using particular chemicals. In the planning process, businesses often find ways to reduce toxics use while saving money and improving worker health.