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Interview: Taking Green Chemistry
Out of the Lab and into Products

Paul Anastas is credited with coining the term “green chemistry,” the movement to make chemicals and industrial processes more environmentally friendly, and during two stints in Washington, D.C.,
Paul Anastas
Michael Marsland/
Yale University
Paul Anastas
he has worked to promote those principles at the U.S. Environmental Protection. Anastas, 49, recently left his post as EPA assistant administrator and science advisor to return to teaching at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about his role in EPA’s controversial decision to approve the use of chemical dispersants after the BP oil spill, why a chemical-by-chemical approach to toxicity testing is not the best model for protecting the environment or human health, and why companies are increasingly applying the concepts of green chemistry to the design of materials and products. “For every one process or product that’s being reinvented using green chemistry and green engineering,” he says, “there may be a hundred or a thousand that have yet to be rethought under these terms.”
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