Green Chemistry

Green chemistry is the design of products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry seeks to reduce and prevent pollution at its source.

According to an analysis by researchers at the University of California, building capacity in green chemistry will support a vibrant economy, open new opportunities for investment and employment, and protect human health and the state's natural resources. See Green Chemistry: Cornerstone to a Sustainable California

Health care institutions have a particular ethical responsibility to use products containing chemicals that pose the least risk to human health. Due to its massive buying power, the health care system can play a key role in shifting the economy toward green chemistry.

A growing number of hospitals are taking a "better safe than sorry" approach to chemicals, eliminating suspected hazards and switching to safer alternatives. Benefits of this approach to the bottom line can include reduced disposal costs, reduced liability, and improved health for employees.

As health care and other large institutions are addressing these problems, leading industries are getting the message.

Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Premier, Novation, HP, Google, Nike, Construction Specialties, Perkins+Will, and Shaw Carpets are examples of companies committed to using safer chemicals. Innovation is both feasible and profitable and other companies need to set similar goals and get active.

See case studies of leading companies that are working to clean up their chemical supply chains in Clean Production Action's Healthy Business Strategies for Transforming the Toxic Chemical Economy (pdf). Also, Clean Production Action’s GreenScreen™ for Safer Chemicals helps companies and governments move to safer substitutes for hazardous chemicals.