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Green Chemistry14

What is green chemistry?

Green chemistry is the use of chemistry for pollution prevention. More specifically, green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances.
Green chemistry is a highly effective approach to pollution prevention because it applies innovative scientific solutions to real-world environmental situations. The 12 principles of green chemistry, originally developed by Paul Anastas and John Warner in Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, provide a road map for chemists to implement green chemistry.

The 12 Principles of Green ChemistryThe 12 Principles of Green Chemistry


Shortly after the passage of the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) explored the idea of developing new or improving existing chemical products and processes to make them less hazardous to human health and the environment. In 1991, OPPT launched a model research grants program called "Alternative Synthetic Pathways for Pollution Prevention". This program provided unprecedented grants for research projects that include pollution prevention in the design and synthesis of chemicals. Since then, the Green Chemistry Program has built many collaborations with academia, industry, other government agencies, and non-government organizations to promote the use of chemistry for pollution prevention through completely voluntary, non-regulatory partnerships.


The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry13

  1. It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it is formed.
  2. Synthetic methods should be designed to maximize the incorporation of all materials used in the process into the final product.
  3. Whenever praticable, synthetic methodologies should be designed to use and generate substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.
  4. Chemical products should be designed to preserve efficacy of function while reducing toxicity.
  5. The use of auxiliary substances (e.g. solvents, separation agents, etc.) should be made unnecessary whenever possible and innocuous when used.
  6. Energy requirements should be recognized for their environmental and economic impact and should be minimized. Synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure.
  7. A raw material feedstock should be renewable rather than depleting whenever technically and economically practical.
  8. Unnecessary derivatization (blocking group, protection/deprotection, temporary modification of physical/chemical processes) should be avoided whenever possible.
  9. Catalytic reagents (as selective as possible) are superior to stoichiometric reagents.
  10. Chemical products should be designed so that at the end of their function they do no persist in the environment and break down into innocuous degradation products.
  11. Analytical methodologies need to be further developed to allow for real-time in-process monitoring and control prior to the formation of hazardous substances.
  12. Substances and the form of a substance used in a chemical process should be chosen so as to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions, and fires.


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