Presidential Awards for Green Chemistry in Personal Care and Cosmetics

If you think of planet Earth the way you think of the human body, you see how similar they are: a thin skin whose temperature and humidity vary over time; a high content of water and the need to moisturize frequently; a dependence on the sun for all energy but also a threat of damage from the sun’s rays; and the certainty of aging and eventual death. Viewed that way, a formulator might easily make the leap from personal care to planetary care. And indeed, some are doing so, especially at the level of controlling pollution.

In the United States, The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 established a national policy to prevent or reduce pollution at its source whenever feasible. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted the term green chemistry to mean the use of chemistry for pollution prevention. More specifically, EPA says “green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances."

Green chemistry applies innovative scientific solutions to real-world environmental situations. Paul Anastas’s and John Warner’s “ Principles of Green Chemistry” provides a road map for chemists to implement green chemistry. Promoting this new approach to pollution prevention through the environmentally conscious design of chemical products and processes is the focus of the EPA’s Green Chemistry Program.

In 1995, the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics launched the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge, a voluntary partnership to support further green chemistry research and recognize outstanding examples of green chemistry. The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards highlight successes in research, development and industrial implementation of technologies that prevent pollution at the source while contributing to the competitiveness of the innovators. Nominations for awards are judged for how well they meet the selection criteria: novelty, environmental and human health benefits, and impact or applicability in industry. An award is typically issued annually in each of five categories:
• Green Synthetic Pathways
• Green Reaction Conditions
• Designing Greener Chemicals
• Small Businesses

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