The ecospecifier Cautionary Assessment Process (ESCAP)

The ecospecifier Cautionary Assessment Process (ESCAP) provides the means for determining key indicator comments for consumers and industry in relation to health, occupational health and safety and ecological toxicity. ESCAP gives ecospecifier the ability to provide precautionary statements about possible risks and impacts in a qualitative way that should be easily understood by any member of the public.

The ESCAP assessment gives ecospecifier a framework by which to exclude products from the assessment if they are deemed to have significant health and/or ecological impacts to be Certified or Verified. This provides a highly detailed, parallel process to the very broad-based LCA health and eco-impact analysis.  The ES CAP assessment is intended to be 'live' and will change as new information becomes available about impacts and levels of impacts of chemicals and processes over time.

ESCAP References the following standards in order to categorise chemicals based on Risk Analysis of potential hazardous effects:

  • Safe Work Australia HSIS System;
  • United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) ;
  • Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 - EU Regulation on the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures; and
  • REACH.

ESCAP is designed around a hazard categorisation of all of the Risk Phrases (R phrases) and dose levels that approximate the 'No Observed Affect Exposure Level' or NOAEL, or the 'No Observed Adverse Effects Concentration' NOAEC levels of constituents.

ESCAP determines whether constituents within a product are:

Level 0 - Substances requiring immediate exclusion:

  • e.g. highly hazardous chemicals listed in the Stockholm Convention and Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention (For more information please see Appendix 1 of the GreenTag Standard).

Level 1 - Substances with the following Risk Phrase (R-Phrase) attributions:

  • Highly toxic, create acute reactions, have long term, accumulative, intergenerational, irreversible effects;
  • GHS Category 1 and 2;
  • Mutagenic substances with Classification in Categories 1, 2 or 3;
  • Reproduction Toxicity Effect Categories 1, 2 or 3 - Developmental Toxicity.

Level 2 - Substances with the following R-Phrase attributions:

  • Have mild to moderate toxicity, heath or other effects such as long term chronic reactions;
  • GHS Category 3 and 4;
  • Unless the R Phrase toxicity concentrations of substances have been modified by the EU Directive 2001/59/EC Annex 1 or subsequent updates, Reproduction Toxicity Effect Category 3-Impaired Fertility.

Level 3 - Substances with the following R-Phrase attributions:

  • No harmful or toxic risk phrases applied for normal use;
  • GHS Category 5.

The ES CAP process analyses the content level content of each substance within a product, the hazard level of that substance, and the severity and likelihood of the risk being realised to determine the level of caution regarding the products.

"Where impurities, additives or individual constituents of a substance have been identified, they shall be taken into account if their concentration is greater or equal to the limits specified:

  1. 0.1% for substances classified as very toxic, toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction or dangerous for the environment;
  2. 1% for substances classified as harmful, corrosive, irritant, sensitising, carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction, dangerous for the environment."

Furthermore, under the ecospecifier Supplementary Product Category Specific Standards, a number of substances or processes have been prescribed limit levels in accordance with product specific requirements.

A product may receive the following cautionary statements:

  • Red Light Exclusion: The product contains a Level 0 substance or significant amounts of Level 1 or Level 2 substances with high severity and medium to high likelihood of the risk being realized.  Products with Red Light Exclusions do not meet the minimum criteria for certification and do not appear on the website.
  • Red Light Comment: The product contains moderate amounts of Level 1 or Level 2 substances, but with a low severity and likelihood of the risk being realized.  The Red Light Comment will appear in the product listing and identify the substance of concern, the relevant hazards associated with that substance, and how the risks are mediated.  Red Light Comments significantly affect the level of certification a product can achieve under GreenTagTM.
  • Issue of Concern: The product contains low amounts of Level 1 or Level 2 substances, with a low severity and likelihood of the risk being realized.  The Issue of Concern comment appears in the product listing and identifies the substance of concern, the relevant hazards associated with that substance, and how the risks are reduced.  Issues of Concern will also affect the level of certification a product can achieve under GreenTagTM.
  • Statement of Hazard: The product contains trace amounts of Level 1 or Level 2 substances, with a low severity and low likelihood of the risk being realized.  The statement of hazard appears in the relevant section of the product listing, such as Human Health, and identifies the hazards and how the risks are reduced.  Statements of hazard do not directly limit the level of certification a product can achieve under GreenTagTM, but do influence the overall score of the product.