Date of Completion

5-1-2015

Thesis Advisor(s)

Nicholas E. Leadbeater

Honors Major

Chemistry

Disciplines

Analytical Chemistry | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Environmental Chemistry | Environmental Policy | Inorganic Chemistry | Materials Chemistry | Medicinal-Pharmaceutical Chemistry | Organic Chemistry | Other Chemistry | Physical Chemistry | Polymer Chemistry | Radiochemistry | Science and Mathematics Education | Science and Technology Policy

Abstract

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the central form of chemical regulation existent in the United States today, yet scientists are often unaware or uncertain of its provisions. Violations of TSCA by unknowing chemists set industry and government unnecessarily at odds. A lecture on TSCA was developed for undergraduate students that uses the concept of green chemistry to promote interest and incentivize learning. Green chemistry methods are cleaner and less wasteful than traditional chemical ones, and many companies using them are at the forefront of technological innovation. The lecture explains both green chemistry and TSCA, includes company case studies, and can be integrated into an existing chemical course. This thesis first outlines the major components of TSCA, focusing on how it affects green chemistry-associated technologies, then describes the lecture and assesses the results of its presentation to students. The lecture was shown to be an effective means of teaching students about TSCA and inciting interest in TSCA and green chemistry, though further research is needed to determine whether it is significantly more successful than existing teaching methods. The information and results presented in this thesis give guidance to educators on ways to incorporate instruction on chemical safety into the undergraduate curriculum.