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Fore! HBN Research Drives Understanding of Highly Toxic Chemicals

James Vallette | January 24, 2018 | Optimized Recycling

In January 2018, the Healthy Building Network research team produced technical reports on the trade, production, use and disposal of four highly toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals. Public health advocates used these reports to inform the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about previously unpublished ways in which these chemicals enter...

HBN’s Top 5 Healthy Product Innovations of 2017

James Vallette | December 18, 2017 | Optimized Recycling

When the world seems stranger than ever, it is helpful to keep in mind the bright spots. The Healthy Building Network research team found that increased manufacturer transparency and informed customer demand has produced many signs of hope in the building industry this year. Here are our top 5:



Formaldehyde-free mineral wool in...

Kaiser says no to antimicrobial surfaces in its facilities

Tom Lent | November 04, 2015 | Optimized Recycling


In an October 13 memo, the healthcare giant Kasier Permanente prohibited its design teams from specifying fabric, furniture or finishes with antimicrobials drawing its banned list from a 2014 HBN study of antimicrobials commonly used in building products. Kaiser cited research from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tha...

Consumer Reports warns parents: phthalates migrate from PVC floors

James Vallette | July 09, 2015 | Optimized Recycling

Parents should wash their toddlers’ hands, and regularly mop vinyl floors, especially if children crawl on the floors, warns the Consumers Union in the August 2015 issue of Consumer Reports. (1)


The Consumers Union is the advocacy arm of the venerable Consumers Reports magazine. It has “long raised concerns about phthalates,&rd...

The Healthy Heart of Texas

Bill Walsh | July 16, 2013 | Optimized Recycling

As I hit the road for Dallas last week I realized that this year I will travel to Texas more often than any other state to speak about healthy building materials.  In April I was pleased to participate in HKS’s Green Week.  This fall I will be part of a Houston event sponsored by the local USGBC chapter.  Is the Texas green b...

Reintroducing Pharos Team Notes

Melissa Coffin | July 09, 2013 | Optimized Recycling

The Pharos team is often on the receiving end of phone calls or emails from our users who have questions about our building product evaluations – the meaning of a flag or hazard association, or why we’ve listed a product with a particular level of completion or participation.

While we’re always happy to talk about our approach...

When Zero VOC Does Not Mean Zero VOCs: Beware the Tints

Tom Lent | February 25, 2010 | Optimized Recycling

So, you picked a low- or no-VOC paint or high performance coating (HPC) and it still smells. What went wrong? It might be the tints.Listings of the VOC level in product literature for paints and HPCs generally only account for the un-tinted base product. Each ounce of colorant added to tint your paint or HPC may contain anywhere between 5 and 20 gr...

The Pharos Project: Applied Radical Transparency

Larry Kilroy | February 11, 2010 | Optimized Recycling

The Pharos Project, at its core, is a campaign for transparency in the building materials market. What we are creating is the ultimate campaign tool: a tool for users to locate the best materials to meet their current needs and enduring values; a tool to help cut through the prolific greenwashing; a space where users can discuss what makes a produc...

Declined by NYT. We still think we’ve got a point.

Bill Walsh | January 28, 2010 | Optimized Recycling

Last week, the NYT ran an editorial on the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which in closing advises "wise consumers try to avoid BPA." HBN's letter to the editor was declined. Other fine letters were printed -- but none making our point: wise consumers must demand full transparency and disclosure of all product ingredients from manufactur...