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A New Professional Organization for Advancing the Science of Alternatives Assessment

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Contributed by Rachel Simon, Senior Research Associate, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, and Lauren Heine, Senior Science Advisor, Northwest Green Chemistry; Director of Safer Materials and Data Integrity, MaterialWise; and member of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® Advisory Board.

Many researchers working on the forefront of green chemistry are designing new chemistries and chemical products to reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. Similar to green chemistry, the field of alternatives assessment shares the objective of addressing the health and environmental impacts of chemicals, seeking to find safer and feasible solutions to chemicals of concern. Despite the clear connections between alternatives assessment and green chemistry, the two fields—and their respective scientific communities—have not been highly integrated.

uml-a4.logo.dg1.pngThe Association for the Advancement of Alternatives Assessment (A4) is a new professional association solely dedicated to advancing the science, practice, and policy of alternatives assessment and informed substitution. A4 offers the opportunity to connect with a collaborative community of professionals representing a broad range of scientific disciplines – chemistry, toxicology, exposure science, engineering, life cycle assessment, law and policy, and economics, among others – who are working to accelerate the transition to the use of safer chemicals, materials, processes, and products.

At the recent 23rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference and 9th International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry A4’s President Pamela Spencer spoke about the intersection of these communities in her presentation Fostering Green Chemistry and Alternatives Assessment Collaborations in Safer Product Design. If you did not have a chance to learn about A4 at the conference, we invite you to come take part in our community. Visit to find out more.