Better Living Through Green Chemistry

Finally the drumbeat is getting louder on the issue of environmental toxins and I say it is about time.

Last month, NYT’s Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed on the link between autism (and other diseases) and environmental toxins.  Now, Time magazine has a great piece on Environmental Toxins — The Perils of Plastic.

Blacksmith Technical Advisory Board member Dr. Philip Landrigan was quoted in the Time piece saying, “We don’t give environmental exposure the attention it deserves… But there’s an emerging understanding that kids are uniquely susceptible to environmental hazards.”

This is an issue that Blacksmith knows full well.  We see it first hand in our cleanups around the world. While the threat of toxins here are “invisible,” hidden in products like plastics, perfumes, etc., in the developing world it attacks in its rawest form. Chemicals are dumped into rivers and spew from factories.

As scientists learn more about what small doses can do to the human body, the jury is already out on what large doses do.  They poison.  And that is what is happening today in the developing world.

The solution, the Time piece says, may well be Green chemistry, “in which chemicals are designed in a way that minimizes hazardous risk from the start.”

That would be a good start.  But until we have green chemistry, the answer in the developing world is toxic cleanup.

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