House Approves Green Chemistry Bill

On Sept. 5, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2850, the Green Chemistry Research and Development Act. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), strengthens federal efforts to find safer alternatives to today's chemical products.

"Chemists can design chemicals to be safe, just as they can design them to have other properties, like texture and color," Gingrey said. "The results are chemicals and processes that are better for our environment and safer for our citizens. Simply put, it's better to prevent pollution than clean it up. The House has passed my legislation twice before, and today's enthusiastic support further demonstrates the importance of developing cutting-edge chemicals that are safe for the environment. I hope the third time will truly be the charm for this bill, because the sooner we enact Green Chemistry legislation, the sooner companies across America can utilize this innovative development."

The legislation would:

  • Authorize a coordinated research and development program using existing funds under EPA, the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology and U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Encourage green chemistry research, development, education and technology transfer.
  • Facilitate the adoption of green chemistry innovations.
  • Expand education and training for students, chemists and chemical engineers in green chemistry science and engineering.

Catherine T. Hunt, Ph.D., president of the American Chemical Society, stated: "Green chemistry is the ultimate proof that environmental and economic benefits in chemistry can be optimized simultaneously. The technologies that spin out of this novel research are the seeds that can sustain small business ventures and green corporate practices. From reducing and improving pharmaceutical processes, reinventing the home and construction business, to over-coming our climate and energy challenges, green chemistry is proving that economics and environment are not mutually exclusive."

Additional information on the bill can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov, a Web site of the Library of Congress.

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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