United States
Environmental Protection
Pollution Prevention
and Toxics
EPA 742-F-99-019
March 2001
Greeri Chemistry Program Fact Sheet
What Is Green Chemistry?
Green chemistry is reducing or
eliminating the use or generation of
hazardous substances-including
feedstocks, reagents, solvents, products,
and byproducts-from a chemical process.
Green chemistry encompasses all
aspects and types of chemical processes
-including synthesis, catalysis, analysis,
monitoring, separations, and reaction
conditions-that reduce negative impacts
on human health and the environment.
Green Chemistry Focus Areas
Green chemistry technologies can be
categorized into one or more of the
following three focus areas:
	The use of alternative synthetic
pathways for green chemistry
	The use of alternative reaction
conditions for green chemistry
	The design of chemicals that are, for
example, less toxic than current
alternatives or inherently safer with
regard to accident potential.
By offering environmentally benign
alternatives to the more hazardous
chemicals and processes that are often
used in both consumer and industrial
applications, green chemistry is
promoting pollution prevention at the
molecular level.
Chemistry Designed for the
The Green
Green Chemistry is the use of chemistry for
pollution prevention. More specifically, green
chemistry i&the design of chemical products and
processes that are more environmentally benign.
By reducing or eliminating the use or generation of
hazardous substances associated with chemical
design, manufacture, and use, chemists can greatly reduce risk to human
health and the environment. This new approach to pollution prevention
through the environmentally conscious design of chemical products and
processes is the central focus of EPA's Green Chemistry Program, an
initiative under the EPA Design for the Environment Program.
How Was The Green
Chemistry Program
Shortly after the passage of the
Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, EPA's
Office of Pollution Prevention and
Toxics (OPPT) began to explore the
idea of developing new or improving
existing chemical products and
processes to make them less hazardous to human health and the
environment. In 1992, OPPT launched a model research grant program
called "Alternative Synthetic Pathways for Pollution Prevention". This
program provided, for the first time, grants for research projects that
include pollution prevention in the synthesis of chemicals. Since that time
the Green Chemistry Program has built collaborations with many partners
to promote pollution prevention through green chemistry. Partnering
organizations represent academia, industry, other government agencies,
scientific societies, trade organizations, national laboratories, and
research centers.
What Is EPA Doing
To Promote Green
The goal of EPA's Green Chemistry
Program is to foster the research,
development, and implementation of
innovative chemical technologies that
accomplish pollution prevention in both a
scientifically sound and cost-effective
manner. To accomplish its goals, the Green Chemistry Program
recognizes and promotes chemical technologies that reduce or eliminate
the use or generation of hazardous substances during the design,
manufacture, and use of chemical products and processes and that have
broad application in industry. More specifically, the Green Chemistry
Program supports fundamental research in the area of environmentally
benign chemistry as well as a variety of educational activities,
international activities, conferences and meetings, and tool development.
The program is composed of four major projects including Green
Chemistry Research, the Green Chemistry Challenge, Green Chemistry
Education activities, and Scientific Outreach.

Green Chemistry Research
EPA's Green Chemistry Program supports fundamental research in green chemistry in order to provide the
chemically-viable tools and methods necessary to develop products and processes that are more environmentally benign.
In 1992, EPA awarded six grants to fund basic research projects that considered impacts to human health and the
environment in the design of chemical syntheses. In 1992 and 1994, EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics and
Office of Research and Development, respectively, signed Memoranda of Understanding with the National Science
Foundation (NSF) to jointly fund green chemistry research. These initial activities were the beginning of the establishment
of a number of research opportunities that have, to date, awarded tens of millions of dollars in grants for fundamental
research in green chemistry. These opportunities include a number of industry/university/government consortia as well as
an annual "Technologies for a Sustainable Environment" solicitation. EPA's Small Business Innovation Research Program
(SBIR) has also expanded its solicitation to include green chemistry research grants for small businesses.
The Green Chemistry Challenge promotes pollution prevention and industrial ecology through an EPA Design for
the Environment partnership with the chemistry community. Through high level recognition and support, the Green
Chemistry Challenge promotes innovative developments in and uses of green chemistry for pollution prevention. The
Green Chemistry Challenge recognizes outstanding accomplishments in green chemistry through an annual awards
program and promotes innovative research in green chemistry. The technologies recognized and supported by the Green
Chemistry Challenge directly reduce risks to human health and the environment by reducing the hazards associated with
the design, manufacture, and use of chemicals.
Green Chemistry Education Activities
One factor that can greatly speed the incorporation of pollution prevention into industrial and academic chemical
activities is addressing pollution prevention issues in chemistry curricula. As part of these scientific outreach efforts aimed
at promoting widespread pollution prevention practices, it is imperative that chemists be formally educated about pollution
prevention concepts during both their academic and professional training. To accomplish this goal, EPA's Green
Chemistry Program supports a variety of educational efforts that include the development of materials and courses to
assist in the training of professional chemists in industry and the education of students in academia. EPA's partners in
these efforts include the National Pollution Prevention Center (NPPC) at the University of Michigan, the Partnership for
Environmental Technology Education (PETE), and the American Chemical Society (ACS).
In order for pollution prevention through green chemistry to become a standard in industry and academia, both the
concept and the science must be effectively communicated to all sectors of industry, at all levels of chemical education,
and to the scientific community in general. EPA's Green Chemistry Program supports a number of outreach projects that
include participating in and organizing prominent scientific meetings and workshops such as the annual National Green
Chemistry and Engineering Conference and its affiliated workshops, as well as the annual Gordon Research Conference
on Green Chemistry; publishing in scientific journals and books; and developing and disseminating computational tools
and databases.
Green Chemistry Challenge
Scientific Outreach
For further details and future updates, visit
EPA's Green Chemistry Program Web Site at