“Chemists Go Green”, Paul Anastas Kicks off Chemistry Colloquium Series at CASE

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Thu, 02/16/2006 - 15:56.
02/23/2006 - 16:30
02/23/2006 - 18:30
Green Chemistry Institute leader's talk launches 2006 series

More and more chemists are "going green"—thinking about the environment when they design new molecules, compounds and products. Paul Anastas, director of the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute, will give the first of a series of talks on this theme when he leads off the Frontiers in Chemistry Colloquium at Case Western Reserve University on Thursday, February 23, at 4:30 p.m. in the Goodyear Lecture Hall of the Agnar Pytte Science Center on Adelbert Road. This free, public event, sponsored by the Case chemistry department and Engelhard, is geared toward a general audience interested in learning how chemists are working for a safer environment.

Anastas, a co-author of the "Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry," was named as one of the "2005 Scientific American 50" leaders in science and technology, an honor given for his work in promoting chemists as stewards of the environment.

Emphasizing prevention over waste treatment or cleanup, the Principles identify strategies for reducing the amount of hazardous material that goes into the environment. Some of the strategies involve changes in chemical production techniques, such as using safer solvents and improving energy efficiency. Others focus on changes in the chemical design of the products themselves, so that they will be non-toxic and degradable.

Anastas will discuss these strategies in his February 23 lecture.

Other speakers in the series will be Chao-Jun Li, McGill University, on "Our Future Challenge in Chemical Synthesis," March 2; Berkeley Cue, a retired vice president of pharmaceutical sciences at Pfizer Global Research and Development, on "Green Chemistry in the Pharmaceutical Industry," March 30; and Joseph DeSimone, University of North Carolina, on "Liquid Fluoropolymers: A Gateway to Green Chemistry," April 13. All talks take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Goodyear Lecture Hall.

The Frontiers in Chemistry Colloquium Series, a 65-year-old tradition of Case's chemistry department, highlights the work of world-class researchers, who address some of the most critical challenges facing chemistry and society. Nearly 40 of the colloquium speakers have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their work in chemistry, including, most recently, Robert Grubbs, a 2000 lecturer, and Richard Schrock, who lectured in 1998 and 2000. Both were awarded Nobel Prizes in 2005.

For information, contact Cather Simpson at 216-368-1911.

For more information: susan [dot] griffith [at] case [dot] edu 216-368-1004.


Goodyear Lecture Hall, Agnar Pytte Science Center
Adelbert Rd.
Cleveland, OH
United States

CHEMISTS GO GREENWASH !!!! <-----------------------

Dont you dare take my word for it...i am a tree hugger!    

Check out  the American Chemistry Council... look into good.

They are a lobbying group that represents the nation's

largest chemical companies, including 3M, BASF, Dow and Dupont.


These companies bolster their bottom line by bringing

untested chemicals into the marketplace, where they are

used in children's toys, cookware and most every consumer

product available.

Did you know that the Vinyl Institute has TONS of

sustainable vinyl literature... they would love the

oppertunity to tell you about how green PVC is. Look into it.


Did you know about "Friends of Coal?  They are another

trade association, they have tons of clean coal promos also.


The American Chemistry Council (ACC) was voted one of the

top 10 GREENWASHERS of 2003... and they had some TUFF



The ACC's international campaign AGAINST the Precautionary

Principle should be on your radar screen.  See the leaked

ACC memo and full text about the anti-precautionary

principle program here:



The precautionary principle should be integrated into

lawmaking in our country as it is in the EU with ROHS and

other European Environmental Commission Environmental



In case you dont know already:


Precautionary Principle - An internationally recognized

principle for action that states where there are threats

of serious or irreversible damage, scientific uncertainty

shall not be used to postpone cost-effective measures to

prevent environmental degradation.

taken from www.ec.gc.ca/international/refs/gloss_e.htm


Precautionary Principle: "Better safe than sorry" attitude.

The idea that, in the face of uncertainty, society should

assume that potential problems are real and address them

accordingly. Taken from www.ecohealth101.org/glossary.html 


Precautionary Principle: If the costs of current activities

are uncertain, but are potentially both high and irreversible,

the precautionary principle holds that society should take

action before the uncertainty is resolved.

Source: Global Biodiversity Assessment GBA



You get the idea right? Overall a good thing. An ounce of

precaution is woth a pound of cure. I integrate the precautionary

principle into my life... you should to. 

vinyl green washing?

Local Chemical Company OmNova Solutions, which makes a wide variety of wall coverings, upholestries, laminates, etc. claims that vinyl is a "green" product that is quasi-endorsed by the U.S. Green Building Council



As ZM notes, this appears to be some hefty greenwashing, as searches on the USGBC site deliver little support though plenty of indecisiveness, which I suppose enables the quasi-endorsement. 


Now we are onto something

John.. the USGBC and vinyl is a david vs. goliath type of story that never happened.  the USGBC in my opinion knows it could be buried alive for years in litigation should it come out against pvc.  They cant nail it down... lord knows it has been suggested at the highest levels of the USGBC to offer LEED credit for a PVC free building!  Guess who threatened to sue and sue and sue some more.


I better back up....let me start by saying that a group to which I am an active part of... the Buckeye Sustainability Institute, brought.. a few years ago.. the director (Judith Helfand) of the Sundance Award winning best doc, Blue Vinyl to Case's Strosacker Auditorium.  We screened her film, along with new teasers found only on the now released dvd and we had a sundance style post screening dialog with Judy (the co-director and co-producer).  Nobody should even comment on the issues with PVC until seeing the film.. seriously. 


That said, I am going to build a new topic around PVC  somehow on  realneo.  I have a boat load of intel that I would LOVE to share and I know there are folks with FIREY opinions on it. *Someone from RealNEO team please let me know how I could best do this**  


Major local organizations pledged support for the screening initially... then backed away... way away from letting folks know about the film.   We have organizations in our midst that make literally millions of dollars off PVC related products, they fund MAJOR eco-organizations in our area, and though their emmissions of Methyl Ethyl Ketone go up and up every year based on their Toxic Release Inventory Reporting (TRI) claims to be 'going green' because the have greened a storage facility of theirs. 


We get quickly into the discussion of what exactly is greenwash.   To me its a mass balance.  If you are going to print for years on end  that you brewery is  'going zero waste', you darn well better back that claim up with metrics, metrics, metrics.   There are international standards (GRI) for sharing this sort of information.  Zero waste, even as a goal.. is a HUGE claim.  Lucky for me its begining to raise the eyebrow of more and more folks.

Building a community addressing PVC

If you really want to raise awareness around PVC, we could set up an entire community around that - I can set you up. If you just want to start exploring the topic and interest, I suggest creating a personal blog entry about PVC and drive some dialog - comments. You can also set up a forum topic, sat in "environment" and ask for comment to that - either way, the feedback will be captured. To grow the content, we can set up a category for PVC, and put the content in a book. Start however you like, we'll jump in, and we can give things more structure as they develop.

Vinyl forum is posted

yes lets

Norm, please feel free to set me up as described above.    I need to organize my thoughts however they will be best conveyed, then work hard to keep anon. here in the polymer belt.  Me pops works with polymers lots.. he things pvc is a dinasaur!!!   Anyhow  I am still not understanding alot about how this board works so helping me clean up and organize would be great.  I did a forum topic, if that is best, cool.  If a book is better how do I set that up.  I have gigs of pvc data I have collected since college.   Next step I would like to do is upload attachments into some repository accessed via the thread/book/forum, etc.  ... i have to stop getting so excited before bed.

Since that would be a global resource, it should have a site

What you describe would be a pretty comprehensive content management system focused on vinyl. Very easy to set up and then you can take your time loading whatever information you like - create forums, etc. When you get back in town we can set it up.

ACC vs. ACS - is it all greenwashing?

Thanks for raising awareness on this - if this talk is sincere, it could be very interesting.


I checked out the ACC site - http://www.americanchemistry.com/s_acc/index.asp - and this is a trade group, so there is no reason to trust them. But the sponsor of this event is the ACS - American Chemical Society http://www.chemistry.org - which seems more academic and socially conscious. Do you know more about the ACS and the extent of "greenwashing" with them?

Oi! Time to print a retraction!

Ye are right Norm.   My carts were ahead of zee proverbial horses on this one.   The ACS is a science-based nonprofit independent of the chemical industry.


With all the "responsable care" molecule hugging oozing out of the ACC these days, I cant says I blame me for the confusion.    Apparently I am not alone in the mix up.  In researching the root cause for my confusion and seeking to confirm or debunk Norm.. I found the following excellent clarification and explanation about ACS.    http://www.grist.org/etc/letters/2005/03/25/letters-vibes/

So much for my planned protest at the ACS meeting.  I had just bought 2 new u-bolt bicycle locks for the event...  O well.  At least we stirred up some vinyl discussion around here... something this board was totally lacking.  Here in the 'polymer belt' we need to chat about those issues.  So to that I am off to research and reply! 


The following article Chemists Go Greenwash is aimed at the American Chemistry Council, not the American Chemistry Society.  Either way its worth a good look at what kind of mischief trade groups and associations are up to!    Tera Prima!

I take it you'll report back

Thanks for the clarification. I hope you'll still go to this talk and report back.

Unfortunatly I cant... =-(

will be on plane to tall mountains in land of 99 wives per planet!

I'll cover chemistry... but where are 99 wives...?

Okay, so I'll learn about tree-hugging chemists and report back. I'll try not to get greenwashed.