Green Chemistry and Sustainability

The University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) is committed to developing green chemistry and extending sustainability practices through cutting-edge research and unique educational opportunities designed for chemists, chemical engineers, material scientists, lab workers, product developers and health and safety practitioners. Some of the activities and initiatives we are currently engaged in are described below. If you would like to learn more or join our efforts, contact Nancy Simcox at or 206-221-7107.


DEOHS Faculty and Faculty involved in the MoDRN initiative have released a new publication titled Current Status and Future Challenges in Molecular Design for Reduced Hazard. This publication is featured in the ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering Journal. View the new publication here.



Want to stay in the loop with our latest and greates in green chemistry and sustainablity? Sign up for our complimentary All Things Green e-newsletter to stay up-to-date with our latest and greatest!





Green Chemistry and Chemical Stewardship Online Certificate Program

September 28, 2020 - June 4, 2021 | 3-course program

Businesses are facing increasing market and regulatory pressures to use less toxic chemicals in their manufacturing processes and products, and are in need of professionals who can provide innovative solutions and more sustainable substitutes.

During this 3-course program we will explore:

  • The 12 guiding principles of green chemistry
  • Business drivers and barriers to implementing sustainable practices
  • Frameworks for incorporating chemical toxicity and human health considerations into product design, material selections, and supply chain decision-making
  • Environmental, economic, and societal benefits of green chemistry
  • Latest research and regulatory developments in the field New tools for chemical design and methods for comparative chemical hazard assessments

Completion of all 3 courses is required to receive a certificate. Visit the program registration page for more information, or to register today!

Visit the program webpage for more information!


OSHA 7225: Transitioning to Safer Chemicals

This course will guide participants through OSHA’s substitution planning process for understanding and evaluating chemical use, identifying and assessing alternatives, and implementing those alternatives that are safer. OSHA 7225 is for professionals at all levels of chemistry understanding who play a role in product and materials selection.  View upcoming OSHA 7225 dates.


Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting: A Curriculum for Early Care & Education

Complimentary, on-demand course offered through PennState Extension Better Kid Care, developed in partnership with the UW DEOHS Continuing Education Programs

Regular cleaning is important for maintaining attractive and healthy conditions in early care and education (ECE) settings. However, some cleaning products are associated with health issues and hazards. Small children are particularly vulnerable from exposure to chemicals in cleaning products because of their size, development, and behaviors. Learn easy ways to keep your facility cleaned, sanitized and disinfected without using hazardous products that might adversely affect children and staff. (K7.8 C2, CDA1) 4 hours.

In the course you will learn to:

  • Explain the health effects of chemicals found in common cleaning products and why children are more susceptible to the effects of toxic chemicals.
  • Describe the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.
  • Identify harmful products to human health and the environment to clean, sanitize and disinfect.
  • Evaluate the products used in your program for the presence of hazardous chemicals and how products might affect the environment.
  • Identify steps to improve the cleaning practices and policies within your ECE program.

Click here to access this complimentary course on-demand!




The team at the Molecular Design Research Network (MoDRN) has developed a series of modules designed for undergraduate science and mixed-major/non-major classrooms to introduce concepts of green chemistry and sustainable chemical design. These are called the MoDRN:U Modules. The overall goal of these materials is to engage undergraduate students with educational concepts and activities that will aid dissemination of scientific principles relevant to the design of safer, next-generation molecules. Use of MoDRN:U Modules is complimentary, click HERE to get started. Read more about the MoDRN initiative below.


Green Labs Project and Webinar Series

Establishing a Model for Environmental Sustainability in Laboratories, also known as the "Green Labs" research project aimed to identify greener laboratory best practices. A webinar series was developed to share the findings of the study.

In this complimentary 4-part webinar series researchers reviewed the successes, challenges, and lessons learned from a project to assess and improve the sustainability metrics of Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) laboratories at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, WA. The webinar series discussed how researchers facilitated the participation of laboratories in the UW Green Lab Certification Program, identified areas for improvement, and evaluated potential intervention opportunities to conserve energy and water, divert waste from the landfill, and transition to safer and greener chemicals. Project staff also worked closely with the UW Green Laboratory Certification program to provide recommendations for developing better acceptance guidelines for low-scoring parts of the application. Over 100 participants from across the country registered for this complimentary webinar series during which DEOHS researchers discussed their findings and suggestions for creating greener labs. Through this webinar series listeners can learn about laboratory recycling, safer and more sustainable alternatives for supplies and chemicals, and best practices for conserving energy and resources.

Staff in the University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences were honored Oct. 27, 2015 with a “Safer Chemistry Champion” award presented by the Washington Department of Ecology for the work done on this project. Read more about the award here


Click a link below to access the audio recording and corresponding presentation for each webinar.

Webinar 1: Getting Started: the Green Lab Certification Process and Identifiying Barriers - View the Recording

Webinar 2: Junk and Juice: Learning Lessons to Reduce Waste and Save Energy in Labs - View the Recording

Webinar 3: It's Not Easy Being Green: Transitioning to Greener and Safer Chemicals - View the Recording

Webinar 4: Wrapping Up: Evaluating Follow-Up Certification Data and Green Labs Project Conclusions - Recording Coming Soon



*NEW* OSHA White Paper: Sustainability in the Workplace - A New Approach for Advancing Worker Safety and Health - View

Beyond Benign Chemistry Education Website - Visit website

THE CHEMICAL FOOTPRINT PROJECT Measuring Corporate Progress to Safer Chemicals - Download

OSHA Chemical RFI - Download

List of Substitution Decision Making Tools - Download

GreenScreen™ Assessment for Dichloromethane (DCM) - Download

Green Cleaning in Healthcare: Current Practices and Questions for Future Research - Download

Toxic Paint Removers: Safer Choices Campaign - Download

GoodGuide Consumer Decision Making Tool - Visit Website

ChemHAT Chemical Hazard and Alternatives Toolbox - Visit Website

UW Recycling: Mixed Containers Lab Recycling Poster - Download

MoDRN: Integrating Green Chemistry and Toxicology Poster - Download

Washington State Department of Ecology Green Chemistry Webpages - View

UW Sustainability Website - View

Northwest Green Chemistry Website - View

MoDRN Website - View

Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center Website - View

MoDRN Module: Oxybenzone vs. Zinc Oxide in Suncreen for High School Biology Classrooms

Lab Lesson Plan - Download

Lab Materials List and Buying Guide - Download

Customized Lab Example - Download


UW Sustainable Technology Alternate Chemistry - Training and Education Center (UW STAC-TEC)

UW STAC-TEC is an NIEHS funded grant focused on developing sustainable solutions to potential workplace health and safety risks associated with biotechnology, nanotechnology, alternative (green) chemistry, and green landscaping. STAC-TEC activities build awareness of safe work practices among students and professionals in related areas of technology development and environmental health sciences.


Molecular Design Research Network (MoDRN)

MoDRN is a Green Chemistry and Green Engineering initiative, which focuses on the rational design of chemicals and materials to reduce toxicity. This multidisciplinary effort is led by four universities (University of Washington, Yale University, The George Washington University, and Baylor University) who are addressing one of the key questions in environmental science: How can we reduce the toxicity of new chemical substances?

The world we live in is made of chemicals. The man-made chemicals have had revolutionary benefits on our lives as well as untended consequences. The MoDRN chemists, toxicologists, biologists and engineers are working to develop a robust, accurate and intuitive set of tools to both inform chemical toxicity levels and help scientists design less hazardous alternatives. MoDRN's efforts focus on three key components: Research, Outreach, and Education. 

Learn more about MoDRN



Best Practices for Sustainable Laboratories Course

This one-day training, held in March 2014, educated 80 EH&S professionals, lab scientists, and lab managers on best practices for sustainability in labs. Speakers included sustainability leaders from academia, government and industry such as Allen Doyle (UC Davis), Dave Waddell (King County Local Hazardous Waste Site), Emily Peterson (Amgen), and Kristi Budzinski (Genentech). Learn more about this past project.

Best Practices for Transitioning to Safer Chemicals Course

During this one-day training in January 2015, professionals from a variety of industries learned about research and education initiatives to select, use, and design 21st century chemicals. Participants learned how to use OSHA's new 7-step Transitioning to Safer Chemicals Toolkit to better assess, evaluate and select safer chemicals for their workplaces. Learn more about this past project.

The Design of Safer Chemicals and Products: The Nexus of Toxicology and Chemistry

During this training recognized leaders in chemistry, toxicology, ecotoxicology, nanotoxicology, and other disciplines guided participants in the use of the most prominent tools used in chemical design and predictive toxicology. Participants had the opportunity to discuss cutting-edge science and practical strategies for the design of safer chemicals and products. This event was a collaboration between the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, MoDRN, Northwest Green Chemistry, and the Washington State Department of Ecology. Learn more about this past project.