Avoiding Toxic Chemicals

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.

Avoiding Toxic Chemicals

Deep Dives

Get up to speed on complex topics. You can also earn CEUs and download PDF Spotlight Reports.


Quick Takes

Jump straight to the essentials with these short explanations of green building concepts.


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  • Building Products and Health: A Look at Risk vs. Hazard

    Primer

    Use of "hazard avoidance" versus "risk assessment" for understanding toxicity of building materials is hotly debated. Why, and is there a common-sense answer?

  • Obesogens-A Fatty Issue

    Primer

    A number of common chemicals are being found to influence the development of fat cells and contribute to obesity.

  • Nanomaterials: How Big a Concern?

    Primer

    Anytime the "nano" label is applied to a product or technology, it's worth getting clear about what it means.

  • Why's That on the Red List?

    Primer

    Ever wonder why copper and Neoprene are flagged in some green building red lists and rating systems? Although they aren't the worst offenders, they're flagged for a good reason.

Product Guidance

Unbiased information from our product experts helps you separate green from greenwash.


In The News

We break news down to the essentials and provide expert analysis.


Perspective

Thought-provoking opinions from the most trusted minds in sustainability.


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Learning Resources

A wide range of education options, with automatic reporting for AIA and GBCI.


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  • The PVC Debate

    Webcast

    If, like a lot of people, your head has been spinning over the last decade as PVC has been debated to point where clarity is hard to find, we'll review the key context that underlies this whole debate—and where facts and opinions diverge.

  • Toxic Chemicals in Buildings: How to Find & Avoid the Worst Offenders

    Webcast

    As a building professional, your clients look to you to help them make solid, science-based decisions about even more complex products and materials. Decisions about a school, a multifamily building, or a commercial office space can affect a lot of people. Do you have enough information to answer the questions of concerned clients? There are no easy answers to any of these questions, but we do know how to identify and eliminate some of the worst hazards from our buildings. In the webcast, we'll take a look at some successful strategies.

Just For Fun

Something weird happens every April at BuildingGreen...


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  • Remove quotes around phrases to match each word individually: "blue drop" will match less than blue drop.
  • You can require or exclude terms using + and -: big +blue drop will require a match on blue while big blue -drop will exclude results that contain drop.