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Green Chemistry Pioneer Wins Heinz Award
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, September 25, 2006 (ENS) - Dr. Paul Anastas, widely considered the "father of green chemistry," was named Monday as the winner of the 12th annual Heinz Award for the Environment. The Heinz Family Foundation, which awarded the $250,000 prize, called Anastas "an environmental pioneer," whose work has prompted companies worldwide to develop and adopt greener technologies.
"Dr. Anastas and his green chemistry movement are addressing an issue of global proportion one molecule at a time," said Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation. "He has not only pioneered a new process for decreasing, even preventing manufacturing waste, but his groundbreaking work has created an economic stimulus within industry that will help propel this approach far into the future."
"Over the past decade, he has already made significant contributions toward improving the health of our planet, and his legacy will be a cleaner, greener and smarter world," Heinz added.
Teresa Heinz has presented the Heinz Awards since 1994 in memory of her late husband, Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz III, heir to the Heinz food fortune. John Heinz died in a plane crash in April 1991.
Anastas said he was pleased to accept the award "on behalf of my scientific, corporate and public policy colleagues who have helped in courageously championing this cause."
Anastas began to formulate this vision in the early 1990s while serving as the new chemicals section chief in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxic Substances at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
He recognized that wastes released to the environment represent an economic investment for manufacturers and sought to redesign benign chemical processes and products at the molecular level, thereby eliminating potential wastes before they are ever produced - and ultimately saving companies money and protecting the environment.
In order to help build momentum for his vision, Anastas convinced the Clinton administration in 1996 to sponsor the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, which has since become the only presidential-level award in the chemical sciences.
The award has helped prompt a hundreds of companies to embrace his "Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry," outlined in his book "Green Chemistry, Theory and Practice."
From 1996 to 2004, the Challenge Award has recognized award-winning technologies that have eliminated 460 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents, saved 440 million gallons of water and eliminated more than 170 million pounds of carbon dioxide that otherwise would have been released into the air.
Anastas is also credited with creating an ongoing research and development collaboration between the EPA and the National Science Foundation known as the Technology for Sustainable Environment Program.
The program has funded tens of millions of dollars in fundamental research that advances the discovery, development and use of innovative technologies and approaches to avoid or minimize the generation of pollutants at the source.
Furthermore, Anastas is considered the driving force behind the founding of the Green Chemistry Institute in 1997. The organization fosters collaborations between government, industry and academia - four years later, the insitute merged with the American Chemical Society
"The green chemistry movement is green in more ways than one," Anastas said. "It is green in the context of being environmentally friendly, but it also is green in its relative youth. We have made tremendous strides over the past decade and a half in reversing the psychology of industry and government on the matter of pollution prevention, and yet we have barely scratched the surface of what the promise of green chemistry holds for the world."