Do You Already Know The 12 Principles Of Green Chemistry?

The 12 principles of green chemistry developed by Warner and Arnas allow us to analyze processes and establish how “green” a chemical reaction, an industrial process or a product can be.

Over the years the need of man to seek the answer to many natural facts, has emphasized to discover various disciplines that facilitate their study. Among them, chemistry, which over time grew and gained strength to place itself in diverse processes, from laboratory to industrial level, giving discoveries that facilitates our way of life.

One of the disadvantages of chemistry and the chemical industry is the generation of waste  and products that mostly affect the environment, giving this study discipline a bad image. This has motivated scientists to obtain products that meet their objective without harming the environment, giving rise to the concept of “Green chemistry” . This concept is associated with the prevention of environmental pollution by designing processes and chemicals that do not possess harmful properties. to the environment, and its objectives have been specifically defined as “the establishment of the principles for the synthesis and application of chemical products and processes that reduce or completely eliminate the use and production of materials harmful to the environment”.

The 12 principles of green chemistry developed by Warner and Arnas

  1. It is better to avoid the formation of waste than to treat or clean them after they have formed.
  2. Synthesis methods should be designed to maximize the incorporation of all materials used in the final product.
  3. Whenever possible, synthetic methodologies should be designed to use and generate substances with little or no toxicity to human healthand the environment.
  4. Chemicals should be designed to maintain the effectiveness of their function, while reducing their toxicity.
  5. The use of auxiliary substances (such as solvents, separating agents, etc.) should be avoided as much as possible, and be safe when used.
  6. The environmental and economic impact of energy requirements must be recognized and minimized. Synthetic methods should be applied at room temperature and pressure.
  7. Renewable raw materials should be used whenever it is technically and economically viable.
  8. Derivation reduction. Unnecessary derivatization (blocking groups, protection / deprotection stages, temporary modifications) should be avoided as much as possible.
  9. Catalytic reagents (as selective as possible) are superior to stoichiometric reagents.
  10. Chemicals must be designed so that at the end of their function they do not persist in the environment and are degraded into harmless products.
  11. Analytical methodologiesmust be developed that allow for the monitoring and control of processes in real time , before dangerous substances are formed.
  12. Chemicals and the ways in which these substances are used in a chemical process should be chosen to minimize the potential forchemical accidents , including spills, explosions and fires.

Concluding, the twelve principles , represent ways and preventive actions to develop methods that allow the monitoring and control of any chemical process in real time. They mention that renewable raw materials should be used whenever the economy is viable and generate substances without toxicity, always safeguarding human health and the environment.


by Abdullah Sam
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