Joseph John Breen, 56, a chemist and former program manager at the Environmental Protection Agency, died of pancreatic cancer July 19 at his home in Arlington.

After 20 years at the EPA, he retired in 1997 and co-founded and served as executive director of the Green Chemistry Institute, a nonprofit organization in Rockville dedicated to research and education on environmentally friendly chemical synthesis and processing.

He also promoted youth science education through programs of the American Chemical Society, of which he was a member, and he was an adjunct professor of environmental chemistry at Hood College in Frederick and at Trinity College and American University for about the last four years.

During last month's Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference, he received a special award for his efforts to advance the cause of environmentally sensitive chemistry. Those efforts included chairing ACS committees dealing with environmental chemistry.

His other honors included the EPA's Gold Medal for Distinguished Career and the EPA Administrator's Public Service Award.

Born in Waterbury, Conn., he graduated from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., and received a doctorate in chemistry from Duke University.

He interrupted his graduate studies to enlist in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. After post-doctoral studies at the University of Pittsburgh, he joined the Peace Corps and helped train Moroccan chemists.

At the EPA, Mr. Breen held managerial jobs in the office of pollution prevention and toxics and oversaw its programs to combine incentives for innovative science and technology and voluntary industry efforts to reduce risks in industrial chemical processes.

He also wrote a high school chemistry text, "Chemistry in Community," and recently developed an Internet-based industrial ecology course to be offered through California State College at Bakersfield.

Survivors include two sisters and a brother.