Green Chemistry

Plasticizers

Health Risks or Fifty Years of Denial of Data Children who live in homes with vinyl floors, which can emit phtha-lates, are twice as likely to have autism, according to a new study by Swedish and U.S. researchers. So ran the headline on a news story published on March 31, 2009.1 While authors of this study called the findings intriguing and baffling, the adverse health effects of phthalates the chemicals used to make vinyl flexible and present in countless consumer products have caused...

Perils and Promise of the Infinitesimal

What do a pair of Dockers brand Go khaki pants, a Wilson tennis racket, Burt's Bees Chemical Free sunscreen, a Samsung washing machine, Land's End earmuffs, a face cream from fashion house Chanel, and my Apple laptop computer have in common with a billion-dollar U.S. government program, a Berkeley, California, city ordinance, and a novel about invisible robots run amok 1 All involve what are called nanomateri-als, synthetic materials engineered at the microscopic scale of one to 100 nanometers...

Toward a Greening of Chemistry

I'm a very skeptical scientist, says Terry Collins of Carnegie Mellon's Institute for Green Science. The stakes of the chemical enterprise are incredibly high. Proponents of green chemistry, I had quickly discovered, are very much on a mission. All speak with an urgency more typical of political and social campaigns than the practice of science. Then I began to realize that, right now, green chemistry entails all three. Civilization is highly chemical in its nature, says Collins, a tall,...

Swimmers Hoppers and Fliers

It is December 2007, nearly 350 miles north of the Arctic Circle. What light there is comes as a kind of twilight beginning as a deep cobalt blue shortly before noon and heightening to a liquid lilac before sinking back to darkness above a prism-edged horizon by 3 00 PM. Temperatures have been hovering all week around 0 F with wind chill down to almost -30 degrees. We are surrounded by ice in every direction as far as the eye can see. Our ship is the only one now...

Out of the Frying

How could we as a society produce and use such large quantities of what were once laboratory curiosities with so few questions asked and such limited knowledge of the environmental fate of so many of these materials And how is it that we have now launched into the world's atmosphere and the innermost workings of our biological lives so many engineered materials that seem to be interfering with the most fundamental biochemical processes of life whether as endocrine disruptors or other inducers...

Select Bibliography

Adibi, Jennifer J., Russ Hauser, Paige L. Williams, Robin M. Whyatt, Antonia M. Calafat, Heather Nelson, Robert Herrick, and Shanna H. Swan. Maternal Urinary Metabolites of Di-(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate in Relation to the Timing of Labor in a U.S. Multicenter Pregnancy Cohort Study, American Journal of Epidemiology 169, no. 8 (2009) 1015-24. Anastas, Paul, and John Warner. Green Chemistry Theory and Practice. Oxford Oxford University Press, 1998. Apelberg, Benjamin J., Frank R. Witter, Julie B....

Theres Something in the

Clouds are building slowly along the horizon as afternoon breezes begin to stir the air. Cumulous clouds float over the northern shore of Lake Erie, casting shadows on fields of wheat and corn and soybeans. They float over the Tomato Capital of Canada. Over cattails and water lilies and disappearing bullfrogs. The breezes travel south over Lake Huron and over Ojibwe homelands on the south shore of the lake. They travel over the smokestacks of Sarnia, Detroit, and Windsor, and mix with air...

The Polycarbonate Problem

You can't taste it or smell it, but if you ate canned soup for lunch, drank a canned soda, or sipped from a refillable polycarbonate bottle the hard, shiny plastic often labeled as 7 a chemical called bisphenol A may have entered your body. More than 6 billion pounds of bisphenol A are now produced worldwide each year to make countless consumer products. As the chemical building block of polycarbonate plastics, bisphenol A is used to make hundreds of household items, among them food and...

Epilogue R E D E S I G N I N G T H E F U T U R E

The reason to understand a problem is to empower its solution. Paul Anastas So where do we go from here Can green chemistry gain the momentum it needs to effectively and substantively improve the prospects for environmental and human health Can we reshape the policies we've formulated to deal with chemical hazards to reflect current realities of lifelong incidental exposure to multiple chemicals exposure that often begins at the very earliest stage of development Can we do this in a way that...

The Persistent and Pernicious

The village of Savoonga is perched on the edge of the Bering Sea just 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle. It sits on the north shore of Alaska's St. Lawrence Island, whose westernmost point about 40 miles west of here is only 40 miles from the Russian mainland. Low mountains rise east of the village, sloping up to the island's volcano. It's the third week of July 2007 and there is still snow on the higher ground. We are too far north for trees but the tundra is dotted with cottony blooms,...