News Brief

Perkins+Will Shares Strategies to Avoid Flame Retardants

A chemist and an interior designer team up to compile design guidance for reducing exposure to harmful chemicals.

Image: Perkins+Will
International architecture firm Perkins+Will has released design guidance regarding flame retardants in building products. Healthy Environments: Strategies for Avoiding Flame Retardants in the Built Environment—written by Michel Dedeo, Ph.D., science fellow at Perkins+Will, and Suzanne Drake, senior interior designer at the firm—focuses on eight practical steps design teams can take to avoid introducing the most toxic types of flame-retardant chemicals into occupied spaces. The authors also recommend testing for flame retardants after occupancy.

The report covers three types of flame retardants—halogenated, organophosphate, and mineral—and characterizes them as of “highest concern,” “high concern,” and “lower concern,” respectively. It also explains that both halogenated and organophosphate compounds can be semi-volatile, meaning they can slough off in dust and enter human bloodstreams through various routes. “It is up to architects, designers, owners, and contractors to exercise precaution and work together to design and construct buildings with as few of these chemicals as possible,” the report concludes.

Appendices include detailed reference tables of 193 flame retardants, including a list of those found in people (and in what type of tissue), in various indoor environments (such as homes, stores, hotels, and cars), and in a variety of consumer items and building products. The report is available for free on the Perkins+Will website.

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Published December 1, 2014

Melton, P. (2014, December 1). Perkins+Will Shares Strategies to Avoid Flame Retardants. Retrieved from

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