Product design and drug development breakthroughs help the environment

2000 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

The 2000 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards, recently announced by the White House and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, honor scientists for environmentally conscious innovation in product design and drug development. The awards, sponsored by EPA, are presented to innovators chosen by an independent expert panel convened by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

This year's winners:

U Using enzymes to cut pollutants in drug manufacturing (LaJolla, Calif.) - Professor Chi-Huey Wong of The Scripps Research Institute in LaJolla, Calif., pioneered processes that allow scientists to produce drugs in large amounts, while cutting the use of solvents that can harm the environment, by creating "effective enzymes" - biological catalysts - that allow large-scale manufacture of new drug compounds. Wong's work enables researchers to create pharmaceuticals using very mild reactions that work in room temperature water solutions, instead of having to use pollution-causing solvents.

U Environment-friendly labels for glass products (Edison, N.J.) - Billions of products are sold in glass containers every year, and most are labeled. However, the most common labeling techniques use heavy metals and must be baked in ovens at 1000° F, requiring huge amounts of energy. Scientists with RevTech, Inc., in Edison, N.J., developed the EnvirogluvJ method to label glass and plastic containers in a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient manner. The EnvirogluvJ process applies ink directly on glass by exposing glass to UV radiation rather than baking the ink in energy consuming ovens. The process also uses biodegradable pigments and allows for recycling. It contains no potentially toxic, heavy metals and small to no amounts of volatile organic compounds.

U A new, pollution-reducing way to produce an important drug (Boulder, Colo.)

Contact: Julie Malveaux
American Chemical Society

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