Green Chemists Develop Biodegradable Medications 

Antibiotics, Hormones, and Painkillers

Medication residues have been proven to show up in sewage, rivers, fish, and even polar bears. Yet, chemists have a plan through which they can end these world environmental burdens. The world itself must change, especially the world of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. This is at least what supporters of Green Chemistry believe. 

By the way, this is not a campaign group of environmental activists, but an established field of science.  It began to develop two decades ago, and based on its definition, it stands for developing chemical products and processes which prevent or eliminate formation of dangerous substances.

“In the past, the focus was on creating chemicals that were designed to perform something functional,” says Paul Anastas, Green Chemist at the U.S. American Yale University, in an interview with DW. For example, a synthetic was produced to be flexible and rough at the same time. In the process, scientists did not think of whether this product was going to damage the environment.

Today’s Green Chemists think differently though. While chemicals must still fulfil a certain purpose, they also must be developed from the beginning to not be harmful. “I think Green Chemistry can contribute in a valuable way to saving the world,” said James Clark of the University of York in Great Britain.

The Curse of Immortality

In the 1990s, chemists thought molecules and materials had to last long. Today, many scientists still think the same way. Yet, this is the incorrect approach, said Anastas. “A chemical should exist only as long as it serves a function - not longer.” 

Immortality is not desired in terms of chemicals. The human body discharges long-lasting agents and molecules that we have taken in through medications. This way, they find their way into the environment. From there, they get into sewage, rivers, fish, polar bears, and finally into our bodies again.