1. Anne E. Marteel-Parrish1 and
  2. Martin A. Abraham2

Published Online: 31 JAN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118720011.ch1

Green Chemistry and Engineering: A Pathway to Sustainability

Green Chemistry and Engineering: A Pathway to Sustainability

How to Cite

Marteel-Parrish, A. E. and Abraham, M. A. (2013) UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUES, in Green Chemistry and Engineering: A Pathway to Sustainability, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ. doi: 10.1002/9781118720011.ch1

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Chemistry, Washington College

  2. 2

    College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Youngstown State University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 31 JAN 2014
  2. Published Print: 28 OCT 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470413265

Online ISBN: 9781118720011



  • agriculture industry;
  • chemical industries;
  • chemical processes;
  • environment;
  • green chemistry;
  • petrochemical industry;
  • pharmaceutical industry;
  • toxic chemicals


Chemophobia and the unnatural perception that all chemicals are bad have origins in the remote past, but are still in people's minds today. The historical background provided in this chapter sheds some light on the evolution of the environmental movement. In the 19th century chemistry was viewed as the “central discipline” around which physics and biology gravitated. In the 20th century the growth of chemical and allied industries was unprecedented and represented the major source of exports in the most powerful nations in the world. Among some of the major exports were chemicals derived from the petrochemical, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries. The current image of chemical industries is associated with pollution makers and environment destructors, and the image of chemicals is associated with hazards and toxicity. But the chemical industry has also been responsible for great advances in medicine and science, and the development of new materials such as plastics.