Addressing Toxicity of Chemicals

Written by Beti Adini Wulandari 0 komentar Posted in:

Many people don't realize, myself included, that conventional chemistry doesn't address the toxicity of chemicals. Ask a chemist with a Ph.D for a definition of mercuric sulfide and he or she will be able to tell you everything about that chemical. The atoms that form the molecule; the molecular structure of the chemical, the boiling point, freezing point, and much more. But ask the same specialist how toxic is mercuric sulfide and chances are, he or she is clueless.
Industrial chemicals in our daily lives come from detergents, soaps, lotions, cosmetics, aftershave, nail polish, fabric softeners, stain resistant upholstery, flame retardant interior furnishings, wrinkle resistant clothes, pesticides, herbicides, drain cleaners, and in countless other consumer goods.
All the industrial chemicals in consumer goods were created in chemical labs designed to produce chemicals that are functional and convenient. Safety was not a priority in the search for emulsifiers, surfactants, solvents, degreasers, preservatives, coloring, fragrance holders, humectants, that can be mass produced cheaply, to be used in the design, manufacture, and disposal of all kinds of consumer goods.
Is there any wonder why we find ourselves surrounded by mutagenic, hormone-disrupting, carcinogenic industrial chemicals that show up in our urine and blood if we get ourselves biomonitored?
This is exactly why green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, is a rising and extremely important field of study.
It focuses on and examines the toxic levels of chemicals in a way that traditional chemistry doesn't. Putting safety as a priority, Green chemistry designs products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or production of hazardous substances. Green chemistry applies across the life cycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture, use, and disposal. In short, green chemistry nips toxicity at its very source: at the point of creation, and also at its end, the disposal of substances.
Green chemistry also works to reduce waste, eliminating costly end-of-the-pipe treatments, create safer products, reduce use of energy and resources, and improves competitiveness of chemical manufacturers and their customers.
This field of study has already shown great potential in producing practical applications. A case in point is the non-toxic, formeldehyde-free wood adhesive developed by Dr. Kaichang Li, who obtained the idea for such a glue after seeing how firmly mussels attach themselves to rock! The strong adhesive he created can be made from soy, corn, or canola oil, instead of petrochemicals.
For his breakthrough creation that is now used to make plywood and particle boards, he received the 2007 Green Chemistry award.
There is yet another example of how green chemistry produces eco-friendlier industrial chemicals.


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