Avoiding Toxic Chemicals

OVERVIEW

There are tens of thousands of unregulated chemicals used in our building products, so how do you know which ones are hazardous?

These articles look at some of the most-toxic chemicals, why they are hazardous, which product groups contain them, and alternatives to using them.

You’ll learn about:

  • the burgeoning green chemistry movement

  • tools like Health Product Declarations that tell us what’s in products

  • formaldehyde

  • polyvinyl chloride

  • bisphenol-A

  • flame retardants

  • perfluorinated compounds (PFCs)

We also offer guidance on design decisions that can reduce or eliminate the need for many of these problematic compounds.

  • Take Control of Your Materials: Four Empowering Lessons from Teams That Beat the Red List
    February 1, 2015

    Feature Article

    Need to streamline your product vetting process? These LBC project teams have it down to a science, and anyone can apply their methods.

  • Behind the Logos: Understanding Green Product Certifications
    January 2, 2008

    Feature Article

    The number of environmental product standards and certifications is growing rapidly, putting numerous different "green" logos on products. This article reviews the key programs and evaluates their rigor, and offers guidance in using them to accomplish project goals.

  • Composite Wood: EPA, California, and LEED v4 Requirements
    March 6, 2018

    Product Review

    EPA criteria are similar to CARB’s and create a federal formaldehyde standard for composite wood. We explain the LEED ramifications of these emission standards.

  • The PVC Debate: A Fresh Look
    February 3, 2014

    Feature Article

    PVC is banned by some green building programs and simply reviled by some groups. How did we get here, and has anything changed since vinyl became the enemy?

  • Innovative Products and Technology from the Greenbuild Expo
    December 30, 2013

    Feature Article

    Our product editors pick some winners from the expo floor at Greenbuild 2013 while raising questions about some materials.

  • Finding Products for LEED v4-A Guide
    September 3, 2013

    Feature Article

    That complicated new Materials and Resources section of LEED v4 that we debated for years? It's here. Are you ready?

  • Can We Replace Foam Insulation?
    June 27, 2013

    Feature Article

    There are a lot of reasons to avoid foam, but its high performance can make it a hard habit to kick, as designers are finding out.

  • Stone, The Original Green Building Material
    March 29, 2013

    Feature Article

    Stone is natural and durable, emits no VOCs, requires almost no maintenance, and provides a connection to the earth and our history.

  • Better Choices in Low-Slope Roofing
    October 5, 2011

    Feature Article

    There are big differences in environmental impacts of commercial roofing materials, but the biggest variable may be service life.

  • The Chemicals on Our Carpets and Textiles
    February 28, 2011

    Feature Article

    The array of water-, dirt-, and mold-repellent chemicals added to carpeting and fabrics is dizzying. Which are causes for concern, and how can we minimize exposure?