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ACS Updates its Safety in the Chemistry Enterprise Policy to Support Green Chemistry

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By Peter Reinhardt, Director, Environmental Health and Safety at Yale University, and Chair, ACS Committee on Chemical Safety Safe Practices Subcommittee

The American Chemical Society creates statements to promote public policies that help the chemistry enterprise and its practitioners serve the nation. In this way, ACS addresses various challenges such as economic opportunity, energy and water availability, and environmental sustainability.  ACS’ twenty policy statements are managed and posted by ACS External Affairs & Communications.

Safety in the Chemistry Enterprise” was created with the help of the Committee on Chemical Safety and the Division of Chemical Health and Safety, and reviewed by the Committee on Environmental Improvement. ACS regularly renews these statements to reaffirm their support and update their content. A new version of “Safety in the Chemistry Enterprise” was approved by the ACS Board in December.

The revised policy supports the use of risk-based criteria in creating safety regulations and policies, and continued funding of research to inform policy makers and stakeholders in the creation of those regulations and policies. The policy also supports government implementation of regulatory policies that will foster innovation within a safer chemical environment.

Safety and green chemistry go hand-in-hand, with many common objectives and outcomes that support each other. The green chemistry community may find the new policy’s advocacy of green and sustainable chemistry of interest. The new version adds support for “safe, responsible, and ethical sourcing of chemicals and other raw materials,” as well as promotion of “policies, regulations, and incentives that encourage adoption of safer products, materials and processes.” Note that ACS has a separate, detailed “Sustainability and the Chemistry Enterprise” policy statement.

ACS’ policy statements ensure that its advocacy is aligned with formally-adopted consensus policies. For example, supported by this policy, ACS has called on Congress to fully fund the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Board.