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Formaldehyde additives in US-made drywall

James Vallette | April 01, 2010 | Materials

The more The Pharos Team researches building materials, the more we understand how much of the built environment emits formaldehyde. Sources like insulation, laminates, and particleboard are well documented. But, few people realize that another potential source is one of the most prevalent building materials used in the United States: wallboards, a...


Mercury contamination of drywall

James Vallette | March 18, 2010 | Materials

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ran tests on six drywall products, two from China, and four from the United States. These tests raise an alarm about an element that has been little discussed in the Chinese drywall scare: mercury. The EPA tests identified mercury in four of these products. The two China-made wallboards contained...


Pharos adds Wallboards to Building Product Library

James Vallette | March 09, 2010 | Materials

Wallboards, our newest addition to the Pharos Building Product Library, are now ready for users to explore. The first batch of products focuses on products from three leading manufacturers, Georgia-Pacific,National Gypsum, and Temple-Inland. Over the coming weeks, we will add many more companies and products.

Wallboard is any flat board used to co...


Reflections on High Performance Coatings

James Vallette | March 01, 2010 | Materials

With the release of this week’s final batch of Pharos staff-researched High Performance Coatings (HPCs), a total of sixty-five (65) products made by seventeen (17) companies are ready for viewing. Here are some preliminary findings from the evaluations, pending further review and data entry by the companies themselves. Content disclosure is p...


Sorting out the VOCs

Tom Lent | February 21, 2010 | Materials

Pharos Project users may have noticed that products that are advertised as no- or low-VOC, are not necessarily rated highly in Pharos. For most interior finish products, Pharos scores a product based on whether it passes a 14-day test for emissions of VOCs* such as FloorScore, GreenGuard or Indoor Advantage. The system then deducts points for con...


No, no, nonyl(phenol)

James Vallette | February 16, 2010 | Materials

Over the past half-century, epoxy paint manufacturers have used a chemical called nonylphenol to harden their products. In the built environment, the use of nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) is contributing to rising indoor exposures to endocrine disruptors (chemicals that affect the hormone system). (1) In aquatic ecosystems, NPEs deg...


To Paint or Procreate – That is the Question

Julie Silas | February 08, 2010 | Materials

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the notorious chemical that water bottle manufacturers like Nalgene and SIGG have had to phase out because it leaches into liquids. The science is strong that BPA can affect the hormone and reproductive system. Yet, time and again when regulators or legislators try to propose legislation or establish regulations to limit the us...


EPA’s “Chemicals of Concern” in Green Building Products

Bill Walsh | January 13, 2010 | Materials

On December 30, 2009, the US EPA initiated a process that could result in the regulation of health threats from four classes of chemicals that have been widely used in building materials. This action directs new attention to "green" building product standards that do not adequately account for health impacts, and underscores why transpare...


EPA's "Chemicals of Concern" in Green Building Products

Bill Walsh | January 13, 2010 | Materials

On December 30, 2009, the US EPA initiated a process that could result in the regulation of health threats from four classes of chemicals that have been widely used in building materials. This action directs new attention to “green” building product standards that do not adequately account for health impacts, and underscores why transpa...


Clearing a Flame Retardant Smoke Screen

James Vallette | January 04, 2010 | Materials

In the process of identifying flame retardants in household dust and sewage sludge, Duke University environmental chemist Heather Stapleton identified four new compounds that raised public and environmental health concerns. Then she ran into a wall of industry secrecy. Many flame retardant manufacturers do not disclose their product's ingredien...