Superfund Research Program
STAC-TEC: Sustainable Technologies, Alternate Chemistry-Training and Ed Center
Project Leader: Michael G. Yost
Grant Number: R25ES023632
Funding Period: 2013-2016
Final Progress Reports
The University of Washington Sustainable Technologies, Alternate Chemistry – Training and Education Center (STAC – TEC) focuses on building awareness of potential workplace health and safety risks associated with biotechnology, nanotechnology, alternative (green) chemistry, and green landscaping. The materials and trainings provided this year were delivered to approximately 628 individuals (380 undergraduates, 33 graduates, and 215 working professionals), with an additional 75 exposed to outreach/booth materials.
The STAC-TEC team has developed a variety of educational opportunities for the working professional. Over the past year, they have launched their professional continuing education certificate in Green Chemistry & Chemical Stewardship. The program is a one-year, non-credit certificate consisting of three 10-week courses: Sustainability, Toxicology & Human Health, Principles of Green Chemistry, and Assessment Tools for Safer Chemical Decisions. Students will examine the connections between chemical toxicity and human health; develop a new framework for reducing chemical risks and unintended adverse consequences; and incorporate best practices into a business model that leads to safer, more cost-effective design and selection decisions. Additional opportunities for professional continuing education were delivered in workshop format and included:
- Best Practices for Transitioning to Safer Chemicals: materials included information on designing for substitution planning, alternatives assessment, chemical selection, and the tools available to support these activities.
- Design of Safer Chemicals and Products: The Nexus of Toxicology and Chemistry: attendees learned about the most prominent tools used in chemical design and predictive toxicology and had the opportunity to discuss cutting-edge science and practical strategies for the design of safer chemicals and products.
- A green chemistry and sustainability lunch forum was held at Boise State University for practitioners to discuss the fundamentals and applications of green chemistry.
As part of walking the talk, the team’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences surveyed 20 in-house laboratories with the aim of incorporating principles of sustainability into their processes. The lessons learned during these assessments were turned into 4 case study/best practices webinars. The now archived webinars address “Getting started: Gathering baseline lab sustainability certification data and identifying barriers”; “Junk and Juice: Learning lessons to reduce waste and save energy in labs”; “It's not easy being green: Transitioning to safer and greener chemical use in labs”; and “Wrapping up: Evaluating follow-up certification data and green labs project conclusions”.
The team has also developed and is testing instructional materials for existing courses in undergraduate and graduate education at UW-Seattle, UW-Tacoma, BSU and WSU. New courses developed this year included: Current Topics in Bionanotechnology (Course materials covered nano-biotechnology and covered positive effects of nanoparticles (NPs), toxicity of NPs, physiochemical properties of NPs, how to make NPs, quantum dots and their application in medicine, and utilization of NPs in medicine); Biosafety Practices & Application in Biotechnology (focused on identification of health and safety issues related to biotechnologies and the application of Biosafety practices within the biotechnology context); Green Chemicals, Green Products, Green Processes: Crafting a Less Toxic World (presenting green chemistry in the context of social impact and public health, focuses on the relationship between the science and application of chemistry, and the conditions of life that affect everyone's health, particularly in the developed world). Additionally, new materials (PowerPoints, videos and case studies) were developed by UW and BSU for a variety of existing courses that contain content relevant to biological and occupational safety of emerging bio-and nanotechnologies. Finally, WSU has developed an array of bionanotechnology-related homework problems that can be used in a variety of courses, at all levels. This array includes critical thinking, qualitative, analysis-based, derivation and modeling questions. Homework problems are archived and available to be used by interested faculty.