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Chemical Giants Target the USGBC: Part 2

Bill Walsh | July 20, 2012 | Policies

Ramping up its assault on the US Green Building Council's initiative to offer credits for reducing toxic chemicals in LEED®-certified buildings (see Chemical Giants Target The USGBC: Part 1), the American Chemistry Council this week announced the formation of the American High Performance Buildings Coalition (AHPBC). This organization is co...

LEED grapples with toxic chemical credits and toxic industry attacks

Tom Lent | June 18, 2012 | Policies

Will the USGBC’s new draft credits to avoid chemicals of concern in building materials “significantly undermine the goal of improving energy efficiency, and ultimately undermine our economy”? So said the American Chemistry Council this week in one of the more impressive pieces of bombast yet produced in their war in the halls of...

Chemical Giants Target the USGBC: Part 1

Bill Walsh | May 22, 2012 | Policies

The credibility of the US chemical industry has taken a beating in the press this month. But instead of apologizing, pledging to reform its ways, or disciplining a "few bad apples," for being caught lying red handed, the industry has doubled down and launched an all out attack on the US Green Building Council.[1] The focus of the attack -...

Fanning the Flames of Fear: Tobacco Science in the Flame Retardant Industry

Tom Lent | May 11, 2012 | Policies

It worked well to delay tobacco legislation for decades. Why not for the chemical industry as well? The makers of halogenated flame retardant chemicals are turning to the same techniques and even some of the same experts that effectively postponed tobacco regulation. A Chicago Tribune investigative series this week exposes in shocking detail how...

Slogging Through the First Season of Transparency

Bill Walsh | April 02, 2012 | Policies

Mud season has just passed in Vermont. That is the time of year when our pastoral dirt roads, frozen since last November, begin to thaw, from the top down. The frozen underlayer traps the water above, creating mud. Deep, sticky, Prius-swallowing mud. To traverse our "dirt" roads in March you need the right equipment: a four-wheel drive ve...

It's Hard to Be Us

Penny Bonda, FASID, LEED Fellow, HBN Board Member | March 08, 2012 | Policies

Many years after Kermit told us of the difficulty of being green, a friend put it another way. "Penny, it's hard to be you." She wasn't slamming me but rather commenting on the burden of being knowledgeable - an appreciation of sorts.

Here's what happened. While shopping in a grocery store my friend reached for a can of sou...

HPD - The Help We Need

Penny Bonda, FASID, LEED Fellow, HBN Board Member | February 15, 2012 | Policies

As I was writing this month's column on the confusion designers face sorting out building materials safety standards, The Washington Post published an article on the issue titled "It takes some research to know what to avoid when building a healthy home." Author Katherine Salant, defines the problem spot-on: " the United Sta...

Kaiser Permanente Kicks PVC & Phthalates out of Medical Equipment

Tom Lent | January 20, 2012 | Policies

Kaiser Permanente has made a major step in its program to reduce its use of chemicals of concern, announcing this week that it will switch to IV bags that do not use PVC and DEHP and IV tubing without DEHP. PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) plastic and the phthalate DEHP (di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate) used to make it flexible are both widely used in medical...

Leading Firms Endorse Health Product Declaration

Bill Walsh | December 21, 2011 | Policies

Last July an ad hoc group of experts from the community of building designers, specifiers, and owners got together to discuss the concept of creating a standard format for reporting product content and associated health information of building products. The idea was to create a means for sustainability leaders to more easily make informed decisions...

APHA Recommends PVC Phase-Out in Building Products

Bill Walsh | November 22, 2011 | Policies

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is now recommending that "decision-makers...consider phasing out the use and purchase of flexible PVC in building materials, consumer products and office suppliers in schools, daycare centers, medical care facilities, nursing homes, public housing, facilities for special needs and the disabled, and...