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Putting on the green
GLASER, J. A. Putting on the green. CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, 13(6):753-758, (2011).
To inform the public
The green chemistry movement is scrutinized for marks of tangible success in this short perspective. Beginning with the easily identified harm of the Union Carbide Bhopal, India disaster and the concerns of Love Canal site in Niagara Falls, NY the public can begin to more easily discern the environmental problems of the worldwide chemical industry. The waste associated with chemical production became a major issue since the established mode of disposal was to landfills. Cleanup of the poorly performing landfills became a major focus due to the importance of human health protection. In the early 1990s, the chemical industry moved towards less contaminating technology in response to increasing stringent environmental regulation became formulated into sustainable industrial chemistry and green chemistry. Green chemistry practice calls for enhancing the safety of industrial chemistry, becoming cleaner and more energy efficient, and having an understanding of where the chemical passes in the environment through life cycle assessment. The directions for green chemistry were codified into 12 principles which have been extended through engineering considerations. The environmental factor (e-factor) has been formulated as a metric based in the comparison between competing technologies. The waste per kilogram of product or the e-factor permits direct comparison between competing synthetic technologies. The drug-maker Pfizer has shown the utility of green chemistry approaches to the synthetic manufacture of sildenafil citrate (Viagra), the anticonvulsant pregabalin (Lyrica), the antidepressant sertraline and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory celecoxib. The greener processes for the last three items accounted for the elimination of more than 0.5 million metric tons of chemical waste. A recent effort of insilico research has developed a tool that permits the assessment of toxicity for new chemicals without the established animal technological testing with considerable cost savings. Despite these examples of success, the green chemistry theme is still considered by some skeptics as a trendy buzz phrase.