26th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Toxicology for Chemists: Preparing Chemists to Design More Sustainable Products Through Smarter Molecular Design

Organizer: Amy S. Cannon and Nimrat Obhi, Beyond Benign

A key sustainability challenge today remains that molecular designers (chemists) are not trained how to address hazards at the very beginning, design stage of a product lifecycle. Chemists lack training in toxicology and the understanding of what makes a molecule hazardous to human health and the environment. Beyond Benign, a non-profit dedicated to Green Chemistry education, has launched a new curriculum project – Toxicology for Chemists – that is aiming to address this knowledge gap. The project involves the development of curriculum and resources that support current and future chemists to better understand molecular hazard and how to include the information within their design criteria as molecular designers. A suite of curriculum materials and on-line resources are being created that will remain open access for instructors, students and scientists to design chemical products that are safer and healthier for humans and the environment. The curriculum units are designed in modular format to allow for the flexible implementation of the content in multiple courses and formats.

The goal of this interactive workshop is to provide a space for chemistry educators to discuss incorporating toxicology principles into their curricula. In addition, participants will be provided with the support, knowledge, and resources necessary to begin this implementation. Beyond Benign and faculty experts have designed a Toxicology for Chemists curriculum that comprises several modules, aimed at weaving together toxicological and chemistry learning outcomes for holistic green chemistry knowledge.

In the first part of the workshop, Marie Bourgeois (University of South Florida) and Nimrat Obhi (Beyond Benign) will introduce the modules. Julian Silverman (Manhattan College), Douglas Raynie (South Dakota State University), and Barb Morra (University of Toronto) will provide examples of how to integrate the modules into existing chemistry curricula.

In the second part of the workshop, participants are invited to engage with the speakers in an interactive discussion. The conversation will be driven by participants’ needs, and will center around the logistics of actively including and integrating toxicology principles into chemistry curricula. Continued support and opportunities beyond this workshop will be made available for participants through pilot testing the Toxicology for Chemists modules.

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