How to develop safe and sustainable chemicals

How to develop safe and sustainable chemicals

The path described by the researchers. As a case study, they created more than six million other people to create a famous firewall and evaluate their assets. Available: UvA / HIMS

With so many man -made chemicals, public health and environmental problems become apparent only years after they have been used extensively. A team of researchers from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Utrecht is proposing a way to change that. In an article in a journal Kemosphere They provide a way to (re) develop safe and sustainable chemicals. Their paper is part of a special issue on the risks to the circular economy, to be published in June.

In modern life, man -made chemicals are almost exclusively man -made. You find it in food, clothing, toys, cosmetics, medicine and many more aspects of everyday life. Although developed for a wide range of applications, these chemicals can simultaneously have harmful properties that pose a threat to public health and the environment. In many cases, these substances appear long after they have been used extensively. Environmental pollution is perceived as a global threat and is considered one of the major causes of biodiversity loss.

“The problem with new batteries is that they enter the market too quickly which can lead to negative evaluations,” said Joanke van Dijk, a Ph.D. candidate at the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. In his research, he hopes to gain insight into the future problems of chemistry, where he will join a Ph.D. candidates Hannah Flerlage and Steven Beijer and Drs. Chris Slootweg at the Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Van Dijk is researching mitigation options that can prevent chemical pollution of water under the supervision of Prof. Annemarie van Wezel from the UvA Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics.

It looks beyond the work of chemistry

According to Van Dijk, for many chemists there is no definitive information about environmental hazards such as persistence and long -term effects. As a result, problems often arise after a chemical is allowed on the market. “To address this, the European Commission has announced the development of safe and sustainable chemicals as part of the European Green Deal,” Van Dijk said. “In our research, we achieved these goals and developed a strategy for developing safe and sustainable chemicals. We decided if a chemical could provide any action, but we looked beyond that. and gives an idea of ​​continuity and risks. “

In a case study, Van Dijk and colleagues looked at the organophosphate triisobutylphosphate (TiBP) group. As a fire retardant, this chemical helps prevent fires, but because of its extensive use, it is found in European waters. “It runs out of the clothes when washing,” explains Flerlage, “which is released into the environment. Because this release was not possible, we decided to redesign TiBP as a way. to reduce its pollution in the environment and improve its biodegradation. “

“Continuous chemicals can be an asset to a healthy circular economy,” Flerlage added. “But once they are released into the environment, they are very worried because they can endanger living things for a very long time.

System design for safety chemicals

Van Dijk and Flerlage developed a computer program that would produce more than 6.3 million chemical plants according to the original TiBP company. Next, they used the Quantitative Structural Activity Relationship (QSAR) model to predict the chemical properties associated with environmental impact and mortality. All buildings can be selected, not only because of their environmental hazards but also because of their ease of synthesis. This led to a “top 500” of most of the homes evaluated by the researchers. They then selected di-n-butyl (2-hydroxyethyl) phosphate as the molecular weight, and combined this in the lab to verify and achieve the properties predicted by the experimental study.

“Preliminary results show that fire protection will be maintained or increased,” Flerlage said. Although more attempts were needed to explain the biodegradation mechanisms, the researchers relied on their approach. “Experimental results such as this will help improve and re -validate our approach, so that it can reach its full potential in reducing chemical pollution and helping the economy safer,” he concluded. Of Van Dijk.

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More information:
Joanke van Dijk et al, Safety and sustainability by design: A computerized way to redesign chemicals to reduce environmental hazards, Kemosphere (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.chemosphere.2022.134050

Presented by the University of Amsterdam

Directions: How to make safe and sustainable chemicals (2022, April 12) Retrieved 12 April 2022 from

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