The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting nominations for the 2011 Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. This year, the agency is encouraging nominations for the design of safer and more sustainable chemicals, processes, and products that will protect the public, particularly children and other sensitive populations, from exposure to harmful chemicals. The deadline for nominations is December 31.

“EPA’s green chemistry program has long been a catalyst for new approaches and innovation,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This year, EPA is encouraging green chemistry award nominations that will help achieve our goal to ensure that chemicals are safe for use in products, homes, schools and workplaces.”

The 2011 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards will mark the 16th year of the program. Throughout the first 15 years, the EPA received more than 1,300 nominations and presented awards to 77 winners. Winning technologies alone are responsible for reducing the use or generation of more than 198 million lbs of hazardous chemicals, saving 21 billion gal of water, and eliminating 57 million lbs of carbon dioxide releases to the air.

This year, nominated technologies should reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances from a chemical product or process. Companies, non-profit organizations, public academic institutions and their representatives may nominate green chemistry technologies for the awards. Self-nominations are welcome. Typically, one award is given each year in five categories: greener synthetic pathways, greener reaction conditions, designing greener chemicals, small business and academic.

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