Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sharing the magic of green chemistry with high school teachers

By Saskia van Bergen, green chemistry scientist, Hazardous Waste Toxic Reduction Program

When I was a student in a lab, I knew very little of the chemical and safety hazards of the experiments we did. From my perspective, the materials magically appeared and disappeared. I didn’t know what went on behind the scenes. I thought very little about the health risks of chemicals we used. This continued into college where I majored in chemistry. Even though I took a class in environmental chemistry, it wasn’t until I worked on my senior thesis that I started learning more about the potential hazards of chemicals. Some toxic chemicals pose an immediate health threat. Others can gradually build up in the environment and in our bodies, causing harm to the environment and disease long after first use.

Benign by Design

One of the reasons I love my job here at Ecology is that we are helping to improve products and our quality of life by using the principles of Green Chemistry. These principles help Washington State businesses be more profitable and competitive while protecting human health and the environment. Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. Some people call this “Benign by Design” or pollution prevention at the most basic level.

We think educating the next generation of scientists in green chemistry is a necessary first step toward preventing pollution through safer, greener chemical products and processes. Unless the future scientists first learn about green chemistry in school, it won’t enter widespread practice.

Ecology is partnering with Beyond Benign to share a Green Chemistry Webinar Series for high school science teachers. Join us for one, two or all three webinars dedicated to providing useful tools and resources for integrating green chemistry into the high school classroom and laboratory. Find out why and how green chemistry can be used to teach core chemistry concepts while at the same time inspiring students to create the next generation of sustainable products and processes.

Green Chemistry Webinar Series:

May 30th - Introducing Green Chemistry into the High School Webinar:
This webinar will focus on green chemistry basics with a short introduction to the 12 key principles. Highlighted in this webinar will be multi-disciplinary lessons for introducing green chemistry and teachers’ personal experiences of how they have introduced green chemistry to their students.

June 6th - Connecting Chemistry Concepts to Cutting-Edge Science Innovations Webinar: This webinar will focus on lessons and units designed to highlight and connect chemistry concepts with current chemistry-related inventions and discoveries over the past 20 years. Review Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award-Winning Case Studies and units linking chemistry concepts to cosmetics, solar energy and biomimicry.

June 13th - Safer Chemistry: Drop-In Replacement Labs Webinar: This webinar will focus on labs that cover the same content as traditional labs, but use more environmentally friendly materials. The focus will be on labs that reduce the risk in the laboratory setting by targeting the hazard rather than the exposure. Replacement labs that will be highlighted will be: reactions: single, double, composition & decomposition; equilibrium and flame test.

Register Now

To register, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/6390260775939252992

For more information visit our Green Chemistry website

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