Here’s a crazy fact: A baby’s body contains nearly 300 chemical compounds by the time it takes its first breath. It’s the consequence of a chemical industry that has long paid little mind to where its products end up or what they do to people and the planet; of the estimated 83,000 chemicals on the market, some 80 percent lack basic health and safety data. But in reaction to stricter regulation and increased consumer demand, manufacturers are using green chemistry to cook up nontoxic versions of everything under the sun. It’s not about “simply choosing the next, less-bad thing off the shelf,” says chemistry professor Paul Anastas. “It’s about designing something that is genuinely good.” After all, why use petrochemical-based paint when water-based is just as durable? Companies are finding that they can make polyester with cornstarch, household cleaners with coconut, plastic with sugarcane — and money with green innovation. Says Method cofounder Adam Lowry, “The companies that don’t do it will become the dinosaurs.”