Toxic Reduction and Safer Alternatives

​Green chemistry is the process of designing chemicals and processes to be safer, healthier, and more sustainable. This decreases or eliminates exposure to toxic chemicals for workers, consumers, and the environment.

Watch this short video (2 min.) to learn why green chemistry is important.

Introduction to Green Chemistry

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In Oregon, Executive Order NO. 12-05 and our Toxics Reduction Strategy outlines DEQ’s goals and guiding principles to support green chemistry and engineering:
 
  • Foster innovation and entrepreneurship while protecting public health and the environment.
  • Encourage the design and use of chemicals and materials that are benign by design and sustainable throughout their lifecycle.
  • Disseminate information about chemical hazards, exposure risks, and health impacts to make informed buying and use decisions about products in the marketplace.

What is Green Chemistry

Green chemistry is the design of chemicals and processes that, at the very least, avoid the creation of toxics and waste. This approach seeks to prevent pollution in the first place and create chemicals that are not toxic so they are safer, healthier, and more sustainable.
 
Green Chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, applies across the life cycle of a chemical product. The concept was introduced in 1998 by Paul Anastas and John Warner who published twelve principles of green chemistry.
 

Moving towards Green Chemistry

The concepts of Green Chemistry are not new but it will take time for all newly created chemicals to use green chemistry principles. This work represents a shift in environmental problem-solving strategies; moving away from end-of-pipe solutions to active prevention of pollution. We can greatly reduce the effects of toxic chemicals on human health and the environment by incorporating these principles into both existing and new product design.
​“Green chemistry can help Oregon businesses create and produce cleaner, safer products and is integral to our pursuit of a more sustainable economy. Green chemistry innovation is helping a variety of Oregon businesses dramatically improve their environmental performance and overcome some of their most significant sustainability-related challenges. It is increasing their profitability, reducing costs and liability, and catalyzing new fields of entrepreneurial activity in the state.”