The World of Green Chemistry
“Today nearly everything we touch—clothing, furniture, carpeting, cabinets, light bulbs, paper, toothpaste, baby teethers, iPhones, you name it—is synthetic,” Emily Laber-Warren states in her Scientific American article, “Green Chemistry: Scientists Devise New ‘Benign by Design’ Drugs, Paints, Pesticides and More”.
For years, the chemical industry has largely disregarded the environmental and health hazards created by their products and practices. But in the early 1990s, a small group of scientists started to think about creating industrial processes that avert hazard problems altogether. They called this philosophy “green chemistry”—a concept that is now starting to gain much more traction and support, 10 years later.
Green Chemistry will be more quickly adopted once government regulations require green principles in development, production and disposal of products containing synthetic chemicals. Creating laws that ban harmful chemicals and require manufacturers to reveal safety data is important for making sure that industry will implement Green Chemistry practices.