Polluters applauded by EPA

Two giant pharmaceutical corporations that have been repeatedly punished for fouling the ecosystem with toxins have been given awards by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for designing chemical products or processes that reduce the use of hazardous substances.

Various damages have been alleged about environmental contamination over a period of 103 years at or emanating from certain property of Bristol-Meyers Squibb in New Brunswick, New Jersey. 

Merck and Co. Inc. agreed in 1996 to pay more than $1.8 million in penalties to the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice.

$1.5 million in 2011 to settle civil charges brought by the Environmental Protection Agency a concerning violations of the USA’s Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act at two facilities in Pennsylvania.

EPA announced that Bristol Myers Squibb and New Jersey organization Merck & Co. were among the winners of the 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.

The other winners are: Professor Srikanth Pilla of Clemson University, South Carolina, for creating a new polyurethane foam that for the first time contains no toxins; XploSafe, Oklahoma, for creating PhosRox, a novel absorbent material used to make fertilizer; Colonial Chemical, Tennessee, for developing biodegradable, high performing surfactants.

Bristol Myers Squibb was credited for a new class of sustainable reagents — substances used to cause a chemical reaction; and Merck received the award for developing a green and sustainable manufacturing process for a drug used to treat chronic coughs.

An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2021 submissions and made recommendations to EPA for the 2021 winners.

The American Chemical Society (ACS), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announces the call for nominations for the 2022 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards to recognize businesses, academic institutions and nonprofits for innovative green chemistry solutions and products.

“The Green Chemistry Challenge Awards is an opportunity for EPA to recognize green chemistry solutions that advance protection of human health and the environment by preventing pollution at its source,” says EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Michal Freedhoff, Ph.D.

Nominations demonstrating innovations in green chemistry must be submitted to EPA by Dec. 10, 2021. Nominations will be accepted for the following awards:

  • Focus Area 1: Greener Synthetic Pathways
  • Focus Area 2: Greener Reaction Conditions
  • Focus Area 3: The Design of Greener Chemicals
  • Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that can prevent or reduce greenhouse gas emissions)
  • Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business)
  • Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher)

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI) will convene an independent panel of technical experts to formally judge the 2022 nominations and make recommendations to EPA for the 2022 winners. EPA anticipates giving awards to outstanding green chemistry technologies in six categories in June 2022.

Since the inception of the awards program a quarter century ago, EPA has received more than 1,800 nominations and presented awards for 128 technologies that decrease hazardous chemicals and use of resources, reduce costs and protect human health.

Winning technologies are responsible for annually reducing the use or generation of hundreds of millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals, saving billions of gallons of water and eliminating billions of pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents.

“The American Chemical Society values its collaboration with EPA in recognizing outstanding green chemistry innovations through the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards program,” says Mary Kirchhoff, Ph.D., director of ACS GCI and executive vice president for scientific advancement at ACS.

To receive guidance on how to submit a nomination, register for a 90-minute EPA-hosted webinar on Sept. 22, 2021 at 2 p.m. ET. More information about the upcoming webinar and the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards program can be found at www.epa.gov/greenchemistry.

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute is an institute of the American Chemical Society dedicated to catalyzing the implementation of green and sustainable chemistry and engineering through the global chemistry enterprise and the Society.

ACS GCI convenes industrial roundtables, holds an annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (gcande.org), and offers educational resources including grants, awards, webinars and workshops — encouraging scientific innovations to solve environmental and human health issues facing our world today.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people.

ACS is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News.

ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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