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Truce or Surrender at USGBC?

Bill Walsh | September 03, 2014 | Policies

Last week the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued a joint press release announcing an unspecified “new initiative designed to ensure the use of sustainable and environmentally protective products in buildings by applying technical and science-based approaches to the LEED green building program.&rd...


More Vinyl Greenwash

Bill Walsh | June 06, 2014 | Policies

The replacement of harmful phthalate plasticizers in a growing array of vinyl products is fueling a new rebranding campaign in the vinyl industry. Clean-vinyl and Bio-vinyl are a few of the trade names at the forefront of this campaign to position phthalate-free vinyl as a breakthrough and advanced green product. HBN’s in-depth evaluation of...


Time to Close the Europe/US Paint Healthfulness Gap

James Vallette | April 10, 2014 | Policies

Changes as significant as the elimination of lead and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are rolling over the paint industry. Leading global paint companies are removing four classes of toxic ingredients from products sold in Europe in order to qualify for valued ecolabels. Many of the same companies dominate the US market, but do not offer these he...


Dust in the Wind: EPA’s Vacuous Review of Coal Waste in Building Products

James Vallette | February 28, 2014 | Policies

The EPA’s ongoing review of coal combustion wastes’ regulatory status would seem like a great opportunity to explore essential questions about the safety of bringing coal wastes into a wide range of interior building materials. But, any hopes for that kind of investigation crashed to earth with the EPA’s new report, Coal Combust...


West Virginia Chemical Leak Demonstrates Need for Disclosure

Tom Lent | January 24, 2014 | Policies

The steadily unfolding disaster in West Virginia, makes painfully clear why transparency is so important. About two weeks ago, a coal-processing chemical leaked into the Elk River, tainting the drinking water for 300,000 people. Initially the company at fault - a firm with the ironic name of Freedom Industries – reported that the leaking ch...


Options? Rivals? Imitators? Transparency Market Has Them All

Bill Walsh | November 06, 2013 | Policies

The Health Product Declaration (HPD), within a year of its introduction at Greenbuild 2012, has inspired a growing array of transparency... options? rivals? imitators? One thing is for sure, we have entered a new age of market transparency, and it has changed the conversation about building materials for good. The Resilient Floor Covering Institute...


Ob-Gyns Raise Concerns About Environmental Chemicals Effect On Reproductive Health

Tom Lent | September 24, 2013 | Policies

“Toxic chemicals in the environment harm our ability to reproduce, negatively affect pregnancies, and are associated with numerous other long-term health problems.” So says a statement released yesterday by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)....


Walmart to USGBC: You Are Right

Bill Walsh | September 13, 2013 | Policies

Yesterday Walmart announced a new policy on “Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables.” Though intended for consumer and personal care products sold at the retail giant, key elements of this policy reinforce and vindicate the US Green Building Council’s strategy for encouraging the use of healthier building materials. Walmart’...


Walmart to USGBC: You Are Right

Bill Walsh | September 13, 2013 | Policies

Yesterday Walmart announced a new policy on “Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables.” Though intended for consumer and personal care products sold at the retail giant, key elements of this policy reinforce and vindicate the US Green Building Council’s strategy for encouraging the use of healthier building materials. Walmart’s...


Follow the Leader: Skanska

Bill Walsh | July 18, 2013 | Policies

Last week, Skanska, one of the world's largest construction companies, resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to protest the Chamber's backing of a chemical industry-led initiative to effectively ban the future use of LEED for government buildings. Skanska's public opposition to the self-serving campaign by the chemical and plastics...