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Green Chemistry – Making that fresh coat of paint safer

2013 December 3
Jim Jones


December 3, 2013
10:00 am EDT

Paint BrushOne of the most exciting parts of my job is learning about technologies by American innovators and researchers that are solving some of our most pressing environmental problems.   These discoveries are bringing us safer chemicals, reducing hazardous waste, energy and water, and improving the bottom line for America’s manufacturing sector.

Did you know that one of the ways we traditionally make paint can use up tremendous amounts of energy, water, and chemicals in the manufacturing process, as well as being costly? Scientists have recently found a technology that can help solve this problem – and I recently visited the facility where it’s happening.

Two weeks ago, I took a side trip while at the 2013 U.S. Green Build Expo and Green Chemistry Networking  in Philadelphia to learn about this new technology at Dow’s Chemical facility in Collegeville, PA. When I travel for EPA, I try to visit facilities where Green Chemistry technologies are being developed and used. Dow’s  technology greatly reduces the amount of a chemical needed in the paint, significantly reducing manufacturing costs and pollution in the environment.

Dow’s life cycle analysis indicates that the new technology used to make exterior house paint reduces the paint’s carbon footprint by over 22%, water consumption by 30%, harmful emissions by 24%, and water impacts like algae bloom by 27% — while providing other benefits for water and air quality. While this is good news for the environment, it’s also great news for the consumer. This new technology will make the paint more effective at reducing the bleed through of old paint colors or rust. A clear win-win technology and product.

Dow’s technology is just one of many examples of Green Chemistry in action – helping solve environmental problems while saving money, and reducing waste and resource use. When technologies like this make their way to market, the human and environmental impacts, as well as economic impacts, are real and long lasting.

On December 11, I’ll  present awards to the 2013 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award Winners. I see them as examples of the quality of American innovation that we will continue to rely on.

Want to learn more about the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards and past winners? Find out more here:  http://www2.epa.gov/green-chemistry/

Also, did you know that for nearly 20 years now, EPA has sponsored the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards, in partnership with the American Chemical Society? The awards recognize innovative Green Chemistry technologies that are offering real solutions to environmental problems.

Jim Jones is the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. He is responsible for managing the office which implements the nation’s pesticide, toxic chemical, and pollution prevention laws. Jim’s career with EPA spans more than 26 years. He has an M.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a B.A. from the University of Maryland, both in Economics.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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One Response leave one →
  1. María Eugenia Manzur permalink
    December 4, 2013

    Mr. Jones, I am very interested to know deeply about life cycle analysis and carbon footprint. I want to learn more about these topics in order to teach it to my students. I am Professor at University of Tucumán, Argentina. My courses are General Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry and there I mention these topics. I have projects where volunteers (students and professors) visit neighbourhoods, broadcastings, schools and promote environmental responsability.
    I was in Istanbul promoting our activities. So now we decided to to transform knowlegde into action and I proposed that these actions take part of the disciplinary contents. Although we want to start a research group on these topics. I need your advice and some comments about how to search a gropu or more information to achieve our goal. Thank you. Wonderful comments. Sinceresly.

    Lic. María Eugenia Manzur
    Msc. Environmetal Health

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