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Chemists: Sustainable chemistry

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The concept of sustainable chemistry aims to combine preventive environmental and health protection with an innovative economic strategy.  At the same time, it leads to more employment. Sustainable chemistry is a broad topic that players from science, business, authorities and environmental and consumer protection associations are facing. So, chemists in Ireland also face this.

 

Chemists: Detailed criteria for sustainable chemistry

Qualitative development: non-hazardous substances, or, where this is not possible, use substances that are less hazardous to humans and the environment and manufacture long-lasting products that conserve resources.

Quantitative development: reducing the consumption of resources that are as renewable as possible. Avoiding emissions or discharges of chemicals or pollutants into the environment or, where this is not possible, reducing them. These measures help to save costs.

Comprehensive life cycle assessment: Analysis of raw material extraction, production, further processing, application and disposal of chemicals and products in order to reduce the consumption of resources and energy and avoid hazardous substances.

Action instead of reaction: Avoid in advance that chemicals endanger the environment and human health during their life cycle and overuse the environment as a source and sink. Avoid damage costs and thus economic risks for companies and renovation costs for the state,

Economic innovation: More sustainable chemicals, products and production methods create trust among industrial users and private consumers. This thus opens up competitive advantages.

Avoid Hazardous Chemicals – Develop Safe Chemicals

One step towards greater safety is chemicals with less hazardous properties that can be handled with fewer risk mitigation measures. Chemicals no longer pose a risk as soon as you observe the basic rules of safe handling.

You must restrict particularly dangerous substances or even prohibit their use. These are, for example, carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction substances, or substances that are particularly critical for the environment. They are long-lived and capable of accumulating.

From an environmental point of view, sustainable chemicals must not cause any short- or long-term problems after they are released into the environment. For the environment, ⁠ it means sustainability⁠ of chemicals that are not persistent.

You can consider chemicals sustainable if they do not have any hazardous properties. This means that they neither have known harmful effects nor remain in the environment for so long that previously unknown harmful effects can become a problem.