From: DCHAS Membership Chair <membership**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] C&EN story: Differentiating between green chemistry and sustainable chemistry in Congress
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2019 07:46:08 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: EEB819F7-EA25-4266-824E-D421848B6501**At_Symbol_Here**

Differentiating between green chemistry and sustainable chemistry in Congress

Congressional panel examines two concepts, one well-defined with history, the other newer and less distinct

Experts picked at the differences between the defined field of green chemistry and the more imprecise concept of sustainable chemistry at a July 25 US congressional hearing. Their discussions could influence legislation backed by industry and academics that would focus federal efforts on characterizing and directing grant funding to sustainable chemistry.

Green chemistry has a longer history, with principles established in the 1990s, said Julie Zimmerman, deputy director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale University. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, ‰??Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous substances.‰??

‰??The term ‰??sustainable chemistry‰?? has been introduced more recently and possesses countless definitions‰?? put forth by individuals, companies, trade associations, not-for-profit organizations, and governmental entities, Zimmerman told the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, for example, defines sustainable chemistry as ‰??a scientific concept that seeks to improve the efficiency with which natural resources are used to meet human needs for chemical products and services.‰??

Tim Persons, chief scientist at the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), said at the hearing that the foremost requirement for promoting the promise of sustainable chemistry is to define it and for broad agreement on ways to measure or assess it.

Another key need is ‰??a standardized approach for assessing the sustainability of chemical processes or products,‰?? Persons told the subcommittee. So is ‰??better information on product content throughout the supply chain, and more complete data on the health and environmental impacts of chemicals throughout their life cycle.‰?? Without these types of information, ‰??stakeholders can‰??t make informed decisions that compare the sustainability of various products,‰?? he said.

But the US chemical industry‰??s main lobbying group, the American Chemistry Council, wants elasticity to be a feature. ‰??There does need to be some element of flexibility in defining sustainable chemistry and for any criteria that are applied to it,‰?? said Anne Kolton, an ACC executive vice president. For instance, in more arid regions of the US, chemicals or industrial processes that use water more efficiently might be prioritized over other sustainability goals, she told the panel.

(more at URL above)

For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here**
Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.