Mark it down! It will not be enough for chemists
to know nomenclature, structures, synthesis,
reactions, analysis, analytical tools and processing.
They will also need to understand toxicology
and mechanisms of harm, as well.
This is a forecast John Warner cast to 60
undergraduates today at Simmons College
as he told them that this is an “exciting time to be
a chemist.” Your skills will be essential as we
redesign products and processes that are
benign to organisms and the environment.
He advised that we are constantly surprised
how we find out about unrelated hazards with
unintented consequences because we have not
incorporated molecules that do not harm into
our processes and products.
Certainly most have heard of the Green Chemistry
Institute, various awards, and new publications.
Still most graduates do not receive basic
instruction in toxicology and mechanisms of
harm. This should be a “critical building block”
in chemical curricula.