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.

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  • Behind the Logos: Understanding Green Product Certifications

    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.

  • The PVC Debate: A Fresh Look

    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

    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

    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?

    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

    Feature Article

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

  • Polystyrene Insulations Are Now HBCD-Free

    Product Review

    Dow, Owens Corning, and Kingspan have joined the EPS industry in eliminating the hazardous halogenated flame retardant HBCD from their XPS insulations.

  • Material Transparency for LEED v4: EPDs and HPDs for Metal Studs

    Blog Post

    Reducing your building’s carbon footprint or health impacts? Going after new LEED credits? Transparency documents for steel studs can help.

  • Better Choices in Low-Slope Roofing

    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

    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?