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DfE's green chemistry program.

Green Chemistry is the use of chemistry for pollution prevention. More specifically, green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that are more environmentally benign. Green chemistry encompasses all aspects and types of chemical processes that reduce negative impacts to human health and the environment relative to the current state of the art. By reducing or eliminating the use or generation of toxic substances associated with a particular synthesis or process, chemists can greatly reduce risk to human health and the environment. This new approach to pollution prevention through the environmentally-conscious design of chemical products and processes is the central focus of the Green Chemistry Program, an initiative under the EPA Design for the Environment Program.


Shortly after the passage of the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) began to explore the idea of developing new or improving existing chemical products and processes to make them less hazardous to human health and the environment. In 1992, OPPT launched a model grants program called "Alternative Synthetic Pathways for Pollution Prevention." This pro gram provided for the first time grants for research projects that include pollution prevention in the synthesis of chemicals. Since that time, the Green Chemistry Program has built many collaborations with other federal agencies, industry, and academia to promote the use of chemistry for pollution prevention through completely voluntary, non-regulatory partnerships.


The goal of the DfE Green Chemistry Program is to foster the use of innovative chemical methods that accomplish pollution prevention in both a scientifically-sound and cost-effective manner. The Green Chemistry Program recognizes and promotes chemical methods that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of toxic substances during the design, manufacture, and use of chemical products and processes and that have broad application in industry. The program supports research in the area of environmentally benign chemistry, promotes partnerships with industry in developing green chemistry technologies, and works with other federal agencies in building green chemistry principles into their operations.

The Green Chemistry Challenge - The Green Chemistry Challenge was announced on March 16, 1995, by President Clinton as part of the Reinventing Environmental Regulations Initiative to "promote pollution prevention and industrial ecology through a new EPA Design for the Environment partnership with the chemical industry." Design for the Environment partnerships with industry can encourage development and benefit industry by helping find cost-effective ways to prevent pollution. Green chemistry is both a fundamental and cost-effective approach to pollution prevention.

Through awards and grants programs, the Green Chemistry Challenge is recognizing and promoting the research, development, and implementation of innovative given chemistry approaches. On October 30, 1995, EPA Administrator Carol Browner announced the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program as an opportunity for individuals, groups and organizations "to compete for Presidential awards in recognition of fundamental breakthroughs in cleaner, cheaper, smarter chemistry." The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program provides national recognition for chemistry that incorporates the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use.

The Green Chemistry Challenge has two phases. First is a recognition of accomplishments in chemistry that have been used to achieve pollution prevention goals. The Challenge will focus on the design and synthesis of chemicals which incorporate pollution prevention principles into their use and manufacture.

Second, the Challenge program will promote basic research through EPA research grants and encourage industrial and university collaboration to develop innovative approaches to achieve pollution prevention. The research will help identify ways of making chemicals which reduce or eliminate the use or generation of toxic feedstocks, by-products, and impurities. Alternative solvents which do not contribute to air pollution will be a focus of the research, as will chemicals with reduced potential for accidents due to explosions or fires. By changing the types of chemicals that are used in all types of consumer and industrial projects, Green Chemistry is promoting pollution prevention at the molecular level. The use of these technological developments will directly reduce the risk to human health and the environment by reducing the hazards posed by chemicals used in manufacturing products from food packaging to auto parts.
COPYRIGHT 1997 National Environmental Health Association
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Design for the Environment Program
Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Date:Jun 1, 1997
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