Toxic Chemicals in Buildings: How to Find & Avoid the Worst Offenders Video, 51 minutes

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Phobia or fatigue? When it comes to toxic chemicals, we all have our own way of coping with information overload. This webcast, free to BuildingGreen Premium members, helps you sort it all out.

Even if we try to ignore it, we are constantly barraged with information about dangerous chemicals in our food, our water, our dust, our air…even our grocery receipts.

The information is often sensationalized, always incomplete, and sometimes downright contradictory from one day to the next.

You can’t go organic at work

It's hard enough to make choices about everyday things like organic food, antibacterial soap, or vinyl flooring in your own home.

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?

Other clients may be skeptical about the dangers of certain materials or worried that alternatives will cost too much, even if they're interested in healthier materials. How do you cope with that?

Our webcast cuts to the chase

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. "Toxic Chemicals in Buildings: How to Find & Avoid the Worst Offenders," presented by BuildingGreen President Nadav Malin and Managing Editor Paula Melton, will include:

  • Different approaches to information overload
  • What we know about toxic chemicals in our buildings
  • Coping with knowledge gaps
  • Tools for finding out more
  • Voices of experience

VOCs, PBTs, and even more acronyms explained!

These strategies will include an in-depth look at a few issues, such as:

  • The highest-priority chemicals targeted for avoidance
  • Why VOCs are important but not the only thing you need to worry about
  • How to get better information about product ingredients
  • How key health hazards differ by product category
  • Great opportunities for healthier choices


Nadav Malin, president and co-founder of BuildingGreen, is the building industry’s acknowledged expert on the materials and design solutions that define sustainable building practice. When the LEED rating system was just starting out, Nadav was tapped to lead the Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group, which he chaired throughout LEED’s formative years. He is also executive editor of the award-winning GreenSource magazine, published by McGraw-Hill Construction.

Paula Melton is Managing Editor at BuildingGreen, where she writes feature articles, blog posts, and product reviews on a variety of sustainable design topics. With an MFA in creative writing and a background in both journalism and socially responsible marketing, she has been researching and writing about health and sustainability for more than a decade.