The aim of green chemistry is to reduce chemical-related impact on human health and virtually eliminate contamination of the environment through dedicated, sustainable prevention programs. Green chemistry searches for alternative, environmentally friendly reaction media and at the same time strives to increase reaction rates and lower reaction temperatures.
The green chemistry concept applies innovative scientific solutions to solve environmental issues posed in the laboratory. Paul T. Anastas, an organic chemist working in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxins at the EPA, and John C. Warner developed the Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry in 1991. These principles can be grouped into "Reducing Risk" and "Minimizing the Environmental Footprint."
Wherever practicable, synthetic methods should be designed to use and generate substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.
Example: Certain Solvents & Building Blocks
The use of auxiliary substances (e.g., solvents, separation agents, etc.) should be made unnecessary wherever possible and innocuous when used.
Example: Greener Solvents
Energy requirements of chemical processes should be recognized for their environmental and economic impacts and should be minimized. If possible, synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure.
Example: Certain Antibodies, Enzymes, etc.
Unnecessary derivatization (use of blocking groups, protection/ deprotection, temporary modification of physical/chemical processes) should be minimized or avoided if possible, because such steps require additional reagents and can generate waste.
Chemical products should be designed so that at the end of their function they break down into innocuous degradation products and do not persist in the environment.
Example: Biodegradable Surfactants
Analytical methodologies need to be further developed to allow for real-time, in-process monitoring and control prior to the formation of hazardous substances.
Substances and the form of a substance used in a chemical process should be chosen to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions, and fires.
Example: Certain Grignard Reagents in 2-MeTHF