Solvents; key ingredients in processes for making medicines

First mobile app for green chemistry fosters sustainable manufacturing of medicines

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- American Chemical Society By Sean Ekins Ph.D., D.Sc.  Wednesday, February 27, 2013
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Mention mobile applications, or mobile apps, and people think of games, email, news, weather, productivity and other software for Apple, Android and other smart phones and tablet computers. But an app with broader impact — the first mobile application to foster wider use of the environmentally friendly and sustainable principles of green chemistry — is the topic of a report in the American Chemical Society’s new journal, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

Sean Ekins, Alex M. Clark and Antony Williams point out that the companies that manufacture medicines, electronics components and hundreds of other consumer products have a commitment to work in a sustainable fashion without damaging the environment. That’s the heart of “green chemistry,” often defined as “the utilization of a set of principles that reduces or eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture and application of chemical products.”

Their article describes a guide on doing so for solvents, key ingredients in processes for making medicines. Some traditional processes generate 25-100 times more waste than the chemical they are making (e.g., pharmaceuticals). The solvents guide was developed by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute’s Pharmaceutical Roundtable, a group of 14 pharmaceutical companies. The Green Solvents mobile app version of the guide for Apple devices covers 60 different solvents and is available online here, and the Lab Solvents app for Android devices is available online here.

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American Chemical Society, ACS is a congressionally chartered independent membership organization which represents professionals at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry and sciences that involve chemistry.

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