LCA approach to the analysis of solvent waste issues in the pharmaceutical industry

Michael J. Raymond, C. Stewart Slater, Mariano J. Savelski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Life cycle assessment offers a unique opportunity to analyze emission reductions across all manufacturing sectors. However, few efforts have been made to apply this method to the pharmaceutical industry. Typically, between 80 and 90% of the total mass used in the production of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) may be attributed to solvent use. Manufacture of virgin solvent and solvent waste management contribute significantly more life cycle emissions than comparable processes for commodity chemicals, with the majority of this waste consisting of CO2 and other green house gas emissions. Three case studies from Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Novartis are examined. In these cases, solvent recovery and reduction techniques are integrated into API syntheses. It is shown that the actual extent of the environmental footprint reduction can only be realized with a full life cycle analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1826-1834
Number of pages9
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 6 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


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