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Green Chemistry Awards Critiqued

Grants & Funding: Computational chemist to lead agency division

by Cheryl Hogue
September 21, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 37

EPA’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards go to efforts that eliminate the use of hazardous solvents or generation of toxic waste, save water, or curb greenhouse gas emissions. But EPA’s internal watchdog says those claims, submitted by award applicants, may be misleading because the agency doesn’t verify or validate the results and the award recipients don’t have to conduct quality-assurance checks. A Sept. 15 report by EPA’s Office of Inspector General recommends that the agency quit reporting the pollution prevention benefits reaped through the green chemistry award projects until data quality controls are in place. The inspector general also says the name of the program is misleading because awards haven’t gotten endorsement from the U.S. President for years. EPA responds that, in the next year, it will gather information on impacts of technologies that have received the awards and will periodically evaluate results. The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy participated in the 2015 award ceremony, the agency adds. EPA bestows the awards annually in partnership with the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute.


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