Science groups aim to prevent pollution from lab to living room

December 11, 2000

Two scientific organizations will work together to prevent pollution "from the lab to the living room," with a special emphasis on training future chemists.

"Our goal is to ensure that scientists' work has a positive impact on the environment from the lab to the living room," said Daryle H. Busch, Ph.D., president of the American Chemical Society. "Ultimately, we want to reach out to chemistry students and train them so that they enter the field understanding how they can prevent pollution and protect the environment."

The American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) have joined forces to advance the science and practice of "green chemistry," the design of chemical products and processes that are benign from the standpoint of human health and the environment.

Founded in 1997, the Green Chemistry Institute is a not-for-profit organization made up of institutions from around the world representing industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies. The institute has chapters in 13 countries.

Under this alliance, GCI will operate independently within the American Chemical Society, developing and promoting green chemistry programs. ACS will provide financial and organizational support while continuing to make green chemistry a major focus of environmental programs within the society. GCI offices will be located at ACS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Busch noted that the American Chemical Society - the largest scientific society in the world, with 161,000 members - has long promoted environmentally-sound chemistry through its code of conduct; support of environmental policies in Washington; development of educational materials at all levels of schooling; and selection of winners of the U.S. government's Green Chemistry Challenge Awards, which encourage business and academic researchers to use green chemistry in new products and processes.

The institute's key objectives include raising public awareness of green chemistry and making it a national research priority by aligning the interests of policymakers, business leaders, and the scientific community. Dennis L. Hjeresen, Ph.D., will serve as GCI director. Hjeresen is senior program manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory and has done research on the biological effects of environmental pollutants. Hjeresen received a doctoral degree in neuroscience from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1984.

"The ACS-GCI alliance is a terrific example of the movement of green chemistry into the mainstream of chemistry programs around the world," said Hjeresen. "GCI and ACS share common objectives in pollution prevention, international outreach, education and maintaining a cutting edge in research and development. We are so pleased to be able to share a common future."

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