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This article provides a rationale and stepwise process for evaluating and
improving the "greenness" of an undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory
curriculum. After emphasizing the educational value of sharing this process
with students, effective risk assessment is discussed as an important tool
for both evaluating and redesigning laboratory exercises. The greening
process is illustrated by describing modifications of three undergraduate
laboratory exercises (palladium-catalyzed coupling reactions, steroselective
reduction reactions and alkene epoxidations) through the use of safer
solvents and reagents. By asking each student to describe and evaluate the
greenness of a given laboratory exercise and to provide recommendations for
how the procedure could be made greener, we are helping our students
appreciate the important role of environmentally responsible laboratory
practices and thought processes in our society.
Summary prepared May 2005 by Julie A. Haack, Department of Chemistry at the University of Oregon.
Goodwin, T. E. J. Chem. Educ., Print 2004, 81, pp 1187-1190.