California Green Chemistry Initiative

Today, California officials (including the California Environmental Protection Agency) will hold the first in a series of workshops leading up to a report (due July 1, 2008) that will offer recommendations for green chemistry. The initiative's executive summary claims, "Businesses lack information about their supply chains. These information gaps prevent the free market from working properly to stimulate the development of safer substitutes. Green Chemistry can prevent toxic substances from contaminating the environment and our bodies."

Defining Green Chemistry

The summary notes that the initiative "seeks to fundamentally remake the way we make things via the design and manufacture of products with little or no hazardous substances ... Green Chemistry promotes chemicals and processes that do no harm or reduce harm to human health and the environment."

The report goes on to list the "12 Principles of Green Chemistry," first published by Paul Anastas and John Warner in their book Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice. Of note are:

3. Use synthetic methods that generate substances with little or no toxicity to people or the environment.

5. Phase-out solvents and auxiliary substances when possible.

7. Use renewable raw materials for feedstocks.

11. Develop better analytical techniques for real-time monitoring to reduce hazardous substances.

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