Something New for the New Year - Did You Know?

Bill Walsh | January 21, 2009

We are kicking off the 2009 edition of the Healthy Building News with a new feature called Did You Know? We got the idea for this new column through research for our building materials evaluation project, Pharos, which regularly reveals things that may not yet be on your green radar, or that you suspected, but hadn’t been able to confirm. Did You Know? will alternate with my regular column on emerging market and political trends in the green building industry.

In this issue . . .

Did You Know ... that fiberglass batt insulation can release potentially hazardous levels of a known cancer-causing chemical?

LEED and many other green building rating systems reward the avoidance of wood products with added formaldehyde, but don’t address the formaldehyde-based binders used in most fiberglass batt insulation. An HBN research memo reveals that fiberglass insulation may expose you to potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

The good news? An increasing number of batt insulation products are now available with no added formaldehyde.

Check out these resources for more info:

Formaldehyde emissions from fiberglass insulation with phenol formaldehyde binder - HBN research memo

Formaldehyde Found in Building Materials - GHSI & HBN factsheet

No Added Formaldehyde Batt Insulation - comparative chart of products produced by Global Health and Safety Initiative (GHSI), Kaiser Permanente and HBN

Alternative Resin Binders for Particleboard, Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), and Wheatboard - HBN factsheet

Formaldehyde and wood - HBN webpage on formaldehyde use in composite wood and the California regulations