Hello to all of our colleagues and friends. We sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during this pandemic. We continue to work remotely, like many of you. If you are an essential worker, thank you for being on the front lines.

TURI staff is available via email, phone or Zoo m to talk about TUR planning, training, research, grants, lab testing plans or other issues. This short newsletter includes the essentials about our online continuing education training, cleaning and disinfection guidance, and recent UMass Lowell articles on topics related to the coronavirus.

Take care and be safe!
New Training Webinars for TUR Planners
TURI is offering four webinars (90 minutes each) in place of the in-person continuing education conference that was canceled due to the coronavirus. These webinars have received special approval from MassDEP for double credits (3 credits each). TURI has set the cost at only $25 each during this crisis to minimize the burden on companies and TUR Planners. You can register for one or more webinars.
Fundamentals: What to Focus on at This Stage of the Planning Process

Tuesday, April 14, 9 to 10:30 am

This is a planning year and TUR Planners should be well into the process. This interactive webinar will focus on the activities that are essential to finalizing a TUR Plan in good faith and will look at findings from recent MassDEP inspections of full TUR Plans.

PFAS Chemicals, Uses and Compliance Obligations

Tuesday, April 14, 3 to 4:30 pm

A subset of the large category of "forever" chemicals known as PFAS will be reportable under TRI starting in calendar year 2021 for chemical use in calendar year 2020. This interactive webinar will provide an overview of the class of chemicals, review health and environmental effects identified by the Science Advisory Board, and discuss where you might find PFAS chemicals in your own processes and products.
Tools and Tips for Evaluating the Economic Feasibility of TUR Options

Thursday, April 23, 9 to 10:30 am

In this interactive session, Joe Sarkis, Professor of Management at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, will present tools and tips for evaluating the economic feasibility of implementing toxics use reduction techniques. Attendees will learn about basic accounting methods, more holistic evaluative approaches, and ways to incorporate harder-to-quantify costs and benefits into your evaluation of the economic feasibility of TUR techniques.
Using Pharos to Evaluate Chemical and Material Options

Thursday, April 23, 3 to 4:30 pm

Michel Dedeo from Healthy Building Network will demonstrate the chemical comparison tool Pharos. This previously subscription-based tool now has many functions freely available. Mr. Dedeo will demonstrate its application for chemicals of particular interest to Massachusetts manufacturers.
Cleaning & Disinfection Guidance to Fight the Pandemic
With decades of experience testing the performance of safer cleaning chemicals, TURI offers guidance on how to reduce your risk to the coronavirus while also avoiding unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals. 

When cleaning and disinfecting your home, follow these guidelines:

  • Read product labels and use safer alternatives whenever possible. Products that contain hydrogen peroxide, alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or ethanol), citric acid and lactic acid are safer disinfecting chemicals, although you must still be careful using these products. The Environmental Working Group has just published a list of household disinfecting products that contain these safer chemicals as active ingredients.
  • Clean before you disinfect. Clean dirt off surfaces with soap and water before you apply disinfectants. Removing dirt makes disinfection more effective.
  • NEVER mix products used to clean and/or disinfect. Dangerous chemical reactions can happen with little warning. Combinations of common cleaning and disinfection products can be toxic, causing eye, nose and throat irritation, and even death.
  • Wear rubber gloves and eye protection if you're using toxic disinfectants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a list of registered disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19. However, many of these products contain toxic chemicals such as quaternary ammonium compounds, which can cause respiratory irritation, asthma and skin burns. Open windows and turn on vents to dissipate toxic fumes.
  • Be extremely careful using bleach, which is highly toxic. Dilute bleach with water before use. Keep bleach away from children, wear gloves, and open windows. Never mix bleach with any other substance, including with ammonia, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol.
  • Don't overuse disinfectants. Although we are in a high alert situation, remember that disinfecting kills all microorganisms, good and bad. Overuse can be harmful as well. These chemicals can trigger or exacerbate asthma and cause severe skin burns.

We are working on a fact sheet that will more directly address the coronavirus. In the meantime, view TURI's Guide to Safe and Effective Cleaning and Disinfecting and information from these external resources:

UMass Lowell Professors and Alums on the Coronavirus
Epidemiologist and Public Health Professor David Kriebel, who is reviewing data as it becomes available on the pandemic, sees cautiously encouraging trends on the containment of the virus in China. Read more.
Professor and Chair of Biology Susanna Remold served on the White House working group on pandemic prediction that was disbanded in 2018. Read more.
As CEO and chief scientific officer of MRN Diagnostics in Franklin, Massachusetts, Gregory Chiklis has spent the past six weeks in a race against the clock, working on a rapid blood test for the coronavirus. Read more.
Providing Hospitals and First Responders with Protective Gear
Local hospitals and first responders rang the alarm for protective gear, and UMass Lowell responded. The Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences and the Kennedy College of Sciences donated face shields, masks, gowns, eyewear, gloves and more to local health and first responders on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus.  Read more.
COVID-19 Information Related to Manufacturing