Green chemistry is also known as sustainable chemistry. Green chemistry reduces pollution at its source by minimizing or eliminating the hazards of chemical feedstocks, reagents, solvents, and products. This is unlike cleaning up pollution also called remediation , which involves treating waste streams end-of-the-pipe treatment or cleanup of environmental spills and other releases.
Remediation may include separating hazardous chemicals from other materials, then treating them so they are no longer hazardous or concentrating them for safe disposal. Most remediation activities do not involve green chemistry. Remediation removes hazardous materials from the environment; on the other hand, green chemistry keeps the hazardous materials out of the environment in the first place.
If a technology reduces or eliminates the hazardous chemicals used to clean up environmental contaminants, this technology would qualify as a green chemistry technology. One example is replacing a hazardous sorbent [chemical] used to capture mercury from the air for safe disposal with an effective, but nonhazardous sorbent. Using the nonhazardous sorbent means that the hazardous sorbent is never manufactured and so the remediation technology meets the definition of green chemistry.
Prevent waste : Design chemical syntheses to prevent waste.
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Leave no waste to treat or clean up. Maximize atom economy : Design syntheses so that the final product contains the maximum proportion of the starting materials. Waste few or no atoms. Design less hazardous chemical syntheses : Design syntheses to use and generate substances with little or no toxicity to either humans or the environment. Design safer chemicals and products : Design chemical products that are fully effective yet have little or no toxicity. Chemistry World. Education in Chemistry. Open Access. Historical Collection.
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You have access to this article. Please wait while we load your content Something went wrong. Try again? Cited by. Back to tab navigation Download options Please wait Article type: Perspective. The next section attempts to give examples of how green chemistry is expected to play a role in addressing environmental and human health issues in a social justice context. Since the development of chemistry has left unintended marks on humans, especially in non-white and low-income communities, it is essential to consider the social consequences of high levels of environmental pollution by hazardous chemicals.
EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys:. Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
Pharmaceuticals and universities working together on multi million pound project
By , they will:. Environmental justice and social justice are mutually inclusive as demonstrated in the following definitions of social justice as:. The successful implementation of green chemistry in industry, the role of green chemistry in increasing public well-being and sustainability leadership across disciplines, sectors, and cultures are essential to promote environmental and social justice.
The analysis combines demographic and environmental data to identify where vulnerable populations face heavy burdens from air pollution, traffic congestion, lead paint, hazardous waste sites and other hazards. Applying the 12 principles of Green Chemistry to address social disparities affecting underprivileged populations can lead to many benefits such as the delineation of methodologies to provide:.
Aligned with the leadership approach of the EPA, scientists are motivated to determine that chemical exposures fluctuate with social disparities.
The following section highlights examples where social injustices stemming from chemical exposure have been the subject of peer-reviewed research. An attempt to demonstrate how green chemistry principles can help address these social disparities is also presented. The population of farmworkers in the USA is severely affected by pesticides exposure. It is estimated that of the 2. Analysis of the blood work of pesticide handlers who could not read English showed significantly greater pesticide exposure compared to those who could read English to some degree.
Pesticide poisoning or exposure causes farmworkers to suffer more chemical-related injuries and illnesses than any other workforce in the USA Worldwide, 25 million agricultural workers experience pesticide poisonings each year Protective clothing does not provide adequate protection against pesticide exposure, especially when handling organophosphate and N -methyl carbamate pesticides. Since pesticide residues are often invisible and odourless, only a blood test would be useful to monitor exposure to these toxic chemicals.
Biopesticides are derived from plants or from microbial pesticides.
PROBLEM SOLVING EXERCISES IN GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE CHEMISTRY
They are less toxic, more pest specific, they biodegrade more quickly and do not affect the ecological balance. Instead of using heavy loads of pesticides, the group developed a pheromone to control the vine mealybug population based on mating disruption. Their findings demonstrated that:. The results for children are especially troubling. Children overall had higher urinary BPA concentrations than teenagers or adults, but children whose food security was very low or who received emergency food assistance - in other words, the most vulnerable children - had the highest levels of any demographic group.
Their urinary BPA levels were twice as high as adults who did not receive emergency food assistance. Concerns about health effects from BPA exposure are strongest for young children and neonates because they are still undergoing development. Several companies are now selling BPA-free products but do not always inform what substitute is being used. It is even considered that some of the BPA-free alternatives may actually not be safer than their BPA-containing counterparts.
In , Richard Wool and his research group at the University of Delaware achieved that by converting lignin fragments, a waste product of the papermaking and other wood-pulping processes, to a compound called bisguaiacol-F BGF. The most recent example of social injustice was the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. When the town of Flint switched the source of water for its residents in , corrosion inhibitors were forgotten to be added to the new water source, which caused lead levels to raise to 25 ppb above the maximum level of 15 ppb set by the EPA. Residents complained numerous times about the strange taste and colour of the water but no further investigation was conducted.
Thousands of children among the majority of the African American population of Flint were exposed to lead without being properly informed since this information was not made public. It was not until January that a federal state of emergency was declared Some green chemistry advocates are concentrating their efforts to address the social and environmental in justice of chemical exposure using the concept of sustainable chemistry as framework in their academic research and outreach efforts.
This has become a priority at academic institutions such as Bridgewater State University where Professor Ed Brush is starting a Participatory Action Research programme In this programme the community will be involved in research projects targeting social injustice. His research students are interested in assessing the impacts of diesel particulate matter emissions on populations with a high risk of developing asthma such as females, children, people of colour and people of mixed race as well as those living in poverty or with low incomes.
The ultimate goal is to delineate how green chemistry principles can be put to work to decrease the exposure of minorities to diesel exhaust pollution. It is expected that studies related to biofuels will inspire their green chemistry proposal to reduce social disparities due to exposure to emissions exhaust 66 — Advances in chemical knowledge and research have brought great progress to the field of green and sustainable chemistry.
As mentioned earlier this article was written in the context of attracting attention to problems related to chemical pollution and resource depletion and it also proposes some alternatives related to the application of green chemistry.
The overall goal was to demonstrate that the significant development of green and sustainable chemistry has opened up a new way of performing and teaching chemistry, demonstrating that green chemistry is applicable to all fields of research and that it should not be a tradeoff between cost and environmental impact. In industry, while the implementation of green chemistry is driven by government regulations, consumer awareness and higher demand for more environmentally benign products, the rate of adoption is slow. In , T.
Compromise is a step in the right direction. When companies shift away from regulations and mandated reduction of industrial emissions towards active pollution prevention, continuous improvement of a product will be justified for its economic and environmental value. Finally, continued and enhanced education in green and sustainable chemistry is crucial among the work force. The incorporation of green chemistry-based courses and the design of academic degrees in green chemistry is vital to establishing awareness and knowledge of environmentally benign chemistry.
Students, who gain insight about how green chemistry can positively impact local communities as well as the entire world, enter the work force with a head start and a sense of ethical empowerment on how to solve existing challenges using green and sustainable chemistry principles.
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Although many educational materials are available, challenges remain for academia, such as 22 :. The lack of expertise and confidence from inexperienced educators to help students learn about green and sustainable chemistry, and. Finally, the presence of key gaps in terms of content such as the introduction of toxicology and metrics as well as well-defined curricular objectives and assessments. Through the applications of green chemistry in industry and academia, it has been shown how green chemistry can make a difference in the sustainable development of human civilisation.