News Brief

Product Watchdogs Pledge Standardized Ingredient Reporting Platform

A promised database funded by Google.org and USGBC aims to end marketplace confusion and lower the cost of ingredient disclosure.

Tracking potentially hazardous chemicals in building products has never been easier—or more confusing, whether you’re a designer or a manufacturer. As interest in this information grows and the market sorts out a confusing set of disclosure options (see Finding Products for LEED v4: A Guide), clarity may be on the way. A new effort supported by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) through a grant from Google.org will harmonize how several different programs collect and report hazard information.

 “Intuitively, we thought there was alignment” among systems that include the Health Product Declaration, Cradle to Cradle, GreenScreen, and the Living Building Challenge Declare program, explained Stacy Glass of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII). “Everyone’s gathering inventories in the same way.” The groups behind these programs, along with the Healthy Building Network, developer of the Pharos database, worked together on a harmonization report for USGBC, which the new efforts will build on.

The ultimate goal? A single, streamlined database that will help manufacturers and assessors screen products and look for inherently safer alternatives—“to make that really hard work of doing a chemical assessment so much easier,” said Glass. “That’s the goal we jointly want to work toward,” and USGBC’s support is “getting that platform up to speed,” she added.

The new platform will not merge the programs but instead help ensure that they are compatible—so that a manufacturer with an HPD, for example, will have already laid the groundwork for a Declare label or the Cradle to Cradle certification process rather than producing the same information in multiple ways for different programs.

Glass said the database would be developed over the next 18 months but added that the groups hoped to report significant progress at Greenbuild in October 2014.

Published July 18, 2014

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