SAN FRANCISCO - Scientific advances in a rapidly emerging field termed “green chemistry” offer the brightest promise for guiding the American economy into a new era of sustainability, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s top R&D official said recently.
Paul T. Anastas, Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, described that future epoch as one in which people use water, air, energy and other resources in ways that meet current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Anastas delivered the keynote address at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
“Green chemistry is the chemistry of sustainability, and sustainability is our true north,” said Anastas. "Chemists, chemical engineers and our colleagues throughout the scientific community can forge the path forward; together their innovation will lead the way.”
Some regard Anastas as the “Father of Green Chemistry.” He advocates an approach that strives to incorporate 12 principles into the design, manufacture and disposal of products throughout the economy. Those principles include prevention of waste, use of safer chemicals and renewable raw materials, and the design of products that break down when discarded without persisting in the environment.
Anastas cited significant progress in embracing green chemistry and green engineering, predicted that the pace will increase, and expressed confidence that the economy will become sustainable.