A method to characterize the greenness of solvents used in pharmaceutical manufacture

C. Stewart Slater, Mariano Savelski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


This paper describes the development of a method to calculate the overall "greenness" of a pharmaceutical process that uses multiple solvents. This calculation is made by taking into account various environmental parameters and determining an overall greenness index. Through this method a scientist or engineer can effectively determine alternative, "greener" solvents or processes based on the use of a solvent database and greenness score. The objective is to develop a means to improve the process of drug development through solvent replacement/reduction. A solvent selection table, using a common spreadsheet software routine, was developed for the purpose of allowing a user to compare the greenness between two different process routes. This table includes over 60 solvents and associated chemicals common in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The comparison was made possible by the creation of a user-defined, weighted-solvent, greenness index that is an overall weighted factor taking into consideration solvent type, quantity used, and environmental impact. A given process or solvent receives an index ranking based on a variety of environmental and health parameters. The index values, along with the mass of solvents used in the given process, are used to compute the index, which allows for a quick and easy quantitative environmental comparison between two potential process routes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1595-1605
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering


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