Knowledge of substitution is made public
During the past 20 years, both companies and occupational health services have worked actively with substitution; however, finding this knowledge is often a lengthy process. Specific substitution experience exists in the individual company, in consultancy firms that provide advice on health and safety to the companies, and with the suppliers of products - not easily come across. Moreover, many projects and reports focus on substitution issues. This knowledge has been published in many cases, but where do you find it?
In 1989, the Danish book "Substitution i praksis" (Substitution in Practice) was published. The book contained 162 specific examples of substitution of hazardous chemicals. It was in great demand and was translated into five languages. Reprinting was considered, but the Internet presented new opportunities.
Who is paying?
In 2003, financial support from the Danish Working Environment Authority and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work made it possible to develop this Internet-based catalogue of examples of specific substitution experiences, mainly within safety and health at work. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency financed the addition of environmental substitutions to the catalogue.
The web site was developed by Lone Wibroe, pharmacist and project manager, Grontmij Carl Bro, and Peter Quistgaard, chemical engineer and IT development manager, Alectia People.
The management of CatSub is also in the hands of Lone Wibroe. Read about the financing of CatSub
Using the catalogue
In the summer of 2007, the catalogue contained more than 300 substitution examples.
The catalogue is intended as a source of inspiration to anyone working with substitution. By seeing what others have done, you can get ideas to go forward in the process of eliminating hazardous chemicals.
The database is to be seen as a catalogue of ideas, not a catalogue of complete and general solutions. Substitution experiences depend on the context in which they were gained. A good idea in one application may not be a good idea in another. This depends on several factors, including whether work is carried out in closed systems, the presence of other chemicals, flammability, differences in waste water treatment methods, etc. Therefore, the user must always consider whether a solution is suitable for his own application, possibly by contacting the person who entered the example or by carrying out an assessment himself or using his own consultants.
International edition of CatSub
In 2006, an international questionnaire survey found there was great interest in the creation of an international edition of CatSub.
In 2007, Afsset decided to have 120 of the CatSub examples translated into French. Afsset is paying for the translation of the examples and for the development of a French CatSub user interface.
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency has granted funds for the simultaneous translation into English.