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Frequently Asked Questions about TURA
The Toxics Use Reduction Act was established in Massachusetts to promote safer and cleaner production that enhances the economic viability of Massachusetts firms. Toxics use reduction (TUR) is a fundamental form of pollution prevention that focuses on the use of toxic chemicals and the generation of wastes in the manufacturing process. It does not focus on the management or treatment of wastes once they are produced.
 
TURA is a "planning tool" for more efficient industrial operations that would produce less waste. Toxics use reduction involves in-plant changes that reduce, avoid, or eliminate the use of toxic chemicals or the generation of hazardous waste, emissions (to air or land), and by-products per unit of product manufactured.
 
Objectives of TURA
The overall objectives of TURA are:

  • To establish for the commonwealth a statewide goal of reducing toxic waste generated by fifty percent (50%) by the year 1997 using toxics use reduction as the means of meeting this goal.
     
  • To establish toxics use reduction as the preferred means for achieving compliance with any federal or state law or regulation pertaining to toxics production and use, hazardous waste, industrial hygiene, worker safety, public exposure to toxics, or releases of toxics into the environment and for minimizing the risks associated with the use of toxic or hazardous substances and the production of toxic or hazardous substances or hazardous wastes;
     
  • To sustain, safeguard and promote the competitive advantage of Massachusetts businesses, large and small, while advancing innovation in toxics use reduction and management;
     
  • To promote reductions in the production and use of toxic and hazardous substances within the commonwealth, both through the programs established in section three of this Act and through existing toxics-related state programs;
     
  • To enhance and strengthen the enforcement of existing environmental laws and regulations within the commonwealth; and
     
  • To promote coordination and cooperation between all state departments and agencies administering toxics-related programs.
TURA requires firms in Massachusetts who use more than a certain amount of listed toxic chemicals to:

  • prepare a Toxics Use Reduction Plan, in which they examine how and why toxic chemicals are used at their facility, and evaluate what their options are,
     
  • and to report the quantities of toxic chemicals used, generated as byproducts (waste) and shipped in or as product.
The goal of the TUR program is to reduce the generation of hazardous wastes in Massachusetts by 50 percent by 1997 without limiting the capacity of local firms to grow and prosper. This is a statewide goal. Individual firms may set their own TUR targets.
 
Toxics use reduction is the best method for protecting public health and the environment from hazardous pollutants. This method will and has decreased risk of major accidents from transportation and storage, protected workers from dangerous workplace exposures and created products which are safer for our, the consumer's, use.
 
Brief History of TURA
In 1989, negotiations were encouraged by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) between two opposing sides: industry and environmentalists. The two sides were represented by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and by Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MassPIRG), respectively.
 
The Spring 1993 issue of Hazardous Materials Management states that "the two groups came together in response to legislation on chemical use restriction and chemical bans proposed by members of MassPIRG and the possibility that a question on restrictions and bans might appear on the 1990 election." Additionally, industry agreed to restrictions that would reduce hazardous and toxic chemicals released into the environment as long as it did not involve chemical bans or conditions that would drive companies out of the state. Both groups agreed to certain concessions and so, this country's first comprehensive pollution control bill was enacted. (Raddatz, 1993). The final law was jointly supported by the both AIM and MassPIRG. It was passed unanimously by both houses of the Massachusetts State Legislature and signed into law by then-Governor Dukakis on July 24, 1989.
 


 
 
 
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