On March 24, UC Berkeley's Center for Green Chemistry held its first interdisciplinary national conference, sponsored by the Canadian non-profit Philomathia Foundation. The event sold out. Speakers included faculty from across the UC Berkeley campus (including the Chancellor), as well as:
- Paul Anastas, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development and Science Advisor to the EPA
- Robert H. Grubbs, Professor of Chemistry, CalTech
- Henry Bryndza, Director of Technology for DuPont
- Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles)
- Dr. Lynn Goldman, Dean, School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University
- John M. Balbus, Senior Advisor for Public Health at NIEHS
- Gerald V. Poje, U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
- John Warner, President of Warner Babcock Institute of Green Chemistry
- Robert Peoples, Director, Green Chemistry Institute, American Chemical Society
At UC Berkeley the Center for Green Chemistry was established in 2009 at the urging of graduate students and with the strong support of the deans of the Department of Chemistry and the School of Public Health. Where once upon a time you could get a PhD in Chemistry at UCB without taking a single course in chemical toxicity, the subject is now broached in your first chemistry course. Undergraduates taking Chemistry 1A now perform experiments that "use fewer nasty chemicals, while teaching...how chemistry can be used to solve problems," according to Marty Mulvihill, the Center's executive director and one of the (former) graduate students responsible for its introduction. (See video below)
[Video by the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), Green Chemistry Initiative]
Berkeley's Center for Green Chemistry program is not the first on a university campus, but it is unique in broadening its approach to include discussion not only of safer reagents and catalysts but of cultural and social changes to law, policy, and practice. These green changes can also be good for business, as well as the environment, as they often focus on using fewer resources, less energy, and reducing costs as the need for special processes for disposal of lab and manufacturing wastes decreases.
If you are a supplier of green chemistry lab materials and would like the chance to meet and talk with researchers about your products' benefits, plan on exhibiting at one of Biotechnology Calendar's Green Chemistry trade shows at research campuses across the United States. Scientists from many UC Berkeley life science labs will be at the Berkeley BioResearch Product Faire™ event on campus this summer, so mark your calendar for June 17 and click the green button below to sign up!
How has your company responded to public and industry demands for a greener lab?