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Occupational Health Branch

Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals in the Workplace

The best way to protect workers from occupational illness and disease is to get harmful chemicals out of the workplace and substitute them with safer substances or work processes. By eliminating or reducing the use of toxic chemicals at the jobsite we also prevent exposures to the community, consumers, and the environment.

Occupational health professionals have long recognized that substitution is the most effective method for protecting the health of workers. They have many years of experience developing and promoting these preventive solutions. Over the years OHB programs and many OHB projects have included a safer alternatives component.


OHB has promoted safer alternatives by:

  • Tracking disease and chemical hazards in order to identify toxic substances that should be eliminated;
  • Working with academic institutions, non-governmental agencies, workers, and business owners to develop and try out safer alternative chemicals or work processes;
  • Providing education, information, and technical assistance to business owners, workers, and others on safer alternatives; and
  • Supporting the development of public health policies that encourage the use of safer alternatives.

Related Links & Resources

Preventing Toxic Exposures: Workplace Lessons in Safer Alternatives (PDF) - UC Berkeley "Perspectives" publication

Organizations that address safer alternatives

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