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Sustainable Design Reqources

MBDC’s Cradle to Cradle™ Design Protocol includes three tiers of evaluation—characterizing the hazards associated with basic chemicals, materials and finished products.

The overall assessment process includes the following components that build upon one another:

1. Assessment Criteria The set of human and environmental health attributes researched for a specific chemical and used to rate it based on its inherent properties.
2. Chemical Profile Evaluation of a basic chemical and its performance with respect to the assessment criteria.
3. In-Situation Chemical Assessment Assessment of a chemical within a specific material, based on its chemical profile, routes of exposure, concentration and life cycle.
4. Material Assessment Determination of a material’s Cradle to Cradle™ performance, from combining the in-situation chemical assessments of all ingredients.
5. Product Assessment Assessment of a finished product, derived from combining all material assessments and evaluating the product life cycle for the potential to recover and truly recycle constituent materials.

Based on the interpretation of the data for all criteria, chemicals and materials are “scored” for their impact upon human and environmental health. A key factor in this evaluation is the risk presented by the component/chemical, which is a combined measure of identified hazards and routes of exposure for specific chemicals and materials, and their intended use in the finished product. The “score” is illustrated by the following color scheme:

GREEN Little to no risk associated with this substance. Preferred for use in its intended application.

YELLOW Low to moderate risk associated with this substance. Acceptable for continued use unless a Green alternative is available.
RED High hazard and risk associated with the use of this substance. Develop strategy for phase out.

GREY Incomplete data. Cannot be characterized.


For both the human and environmental health criteria, there are firmly established cutoff values for determining hazards. For example, in the case of Acute Toxicity (human health), any substance with an oral LD50 value less than 200 mg/kg (e.g., rat, mouse, guinea pig) will be considered acutely toxic.

Human Health Criteria

The following is a list of the human health criteria used for substance evaluation by the MBDC Cradle to Cradle™ Design Protocol. The criteria are subdivided into Priority Criteria (most important from a toxicological and public perception perspective) and other Additional Criteria. Substances that do not pass the Priority Criteria are automatically scored Red and recommended for phase-out/replacement.

Criteria Description
PRIORITY
Carcinogenicity Potential to cause cancer
Endocrine Disruption Potential to negatively effect hormone function and impact development
Mutagenicity Potential to damage DNA
Teratogenicity Potential to harm fetus
Reproductive Toxicity Potential to negatively impact reproductive system
ADDITIONAL
Acute Toxicity Potential to cause harm upon initial, short term exposure
Chronic Toxicity Potential to cause harm upon repeated, long-term exposures
Irritation of Skin and Mucous Membranes Potential to irritate eyes, skin, and respiratory system
Sensitization Potential to cause allergic reaction upon exposure to skin or airways
Other Any additional characteristic (e.g., flammability, skin penetration potential) relevant to the overall evaluation but not included in the previous criteria

Environmental Health Criteria

The following is a list of the environmental health criteria used for substance evaluation by the MBDC Cradle to Cradle™ Design Protocol.

Criteria Description
Fish Toxicity Measure of the acute toxicity to fish (both saltwater and freshwater)
Daphnia Toxicity Measure of the acute toxicity to Daphnia (invertebrate aquatic organisms)
Algae Toxicity Measure of the acute toxicity to aquatic plants
Persistence/ Biodegradation Rate of degradation for a substance in the environment (air, soil, or water)
Bioaccumulation Potential for a substance to accumulate in fatty tissue and magnify up the food chain
Climatic Relevance Measure of the impact a substance has on the climate (e.g., ozone depletion, global warming)
Other Any additional characteristic (e.g., soil organism toxicity, WGK water classification) relevant to the overall evaluation but not included in the previous criteria

Material Class Criteria

The following material classes are scored Red due to the concern that at some point in their life cycle they may have negative impacts on human and environmental health. In the case of organohalogens, they tend to be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic, or can form toxic by-products if incinerated.

Criteria Description
Organohalogen Content Presence of a carbon – halogen (i.e., chlorine, bromine, or fluorine) bond
Metal Content Presence of a toxic heavy metal (e.g., Antimony, Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Cobalt, Lead, Mercury, Nickel)
What Is C2C

The Supply Chain Tool applies the paradigm of Cradle to Cradle™ (C2C) Design, which models human industry on the integrated processes of nature’s biological metabolism—its productive ecosystems—by developing an equally effective technical metabolism, in which the materials of human industry safely and productively flow. Cradle to Cradle™ Design also seeks to optimize the following attributes of the manufacturing process: energy use quantity and quality (i.e., relative proportion of renewable energy), water use quantity, water effluent quality, and workplace ethics.