University professors have identified a range of research topics in pollution prevention. Under cooperative programs with state agencies, the EPA has sponsored research on product substitutes and innovative waste stream reduction processes. An increasing number of industries are also beginning to support university research. The evolution of the pollution prevention perspective is reflected in academic environmental programs.

The progression starts with an industry's initial control efforts of good housekeeping, inventory control, and minor operating changes. In the waste minimization stage, an industry uses technologies to modify processes and reduce effluents. The 1990s have introduced highly selective separation and reaction technologies predicated on the precepts of design for technology and toxic use reduction.

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) founded the American Institute of Pollution Prevention (AIPP) to assist the EPA in developing and implementing pollution prevention. The AIChE aggressively encourages industry sponsorship of university research. Targeted research areas include identification and prioritization of waste streams, source reduction and material substitution, process synthesis and control, and separation and recovery technology (through its Center for Waste Reduction Technologies).

The American Chemical Society's effort has been more modest. Clearly contributions are needed from synthetic and organic and inorganic chemists to build more environmentally friendly molecules, molecules designed for the environment, while still fulfilling their intended function and use. The Center for Process Analytical Chemistry provides an important role in pollution prevention.

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