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Low VOC paints May Still Cause Asthma & Allergies

Tom Lent | October 22, 2010 | Materials

Fumes from chemicals commonly used in water-based paints and solvents may be associated with substantially higher rates of asthma, stuffy noses and eczema. The Swedish/US joint study reported in Environmental Health News this week found that children sleeping in rooms with higher concentrations of propylene glycol and glycol ether compounds (PGEs)...


First Products Pass New Stricter VOC Standard for Homes

Tom Lent | October 21, 2010 | Policies

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) has released their first Indoor Advantage Gold certifications for products meeting the new, tougher residential criteria under Version 1.1 of the 01350 specification (see the new certificate here). The State of California made several revisions to the 01350 standard early this year including: 1) Tightening the...


Buyer Beware: Chemicals of Concern Found in Flooring & Wallcoverings

Tom Lent | October 19, 2010 | Materials

Heavy metals and other toxic chemicals are still widespread in some types of interior finishes according to a major study of home improvement products released today. Researchers from www.HealthyStuff.org tested a wide range of national and local brand flooring and wallpaper products and discovered lead, phthalates, brominated flame retardants and...


Pharos Helps EPA with Insulation Study

Tom Lent | August 27, 2010 | Announcements

Pharos is partnering with the EPA to insure that the insulation used in federal stimulus funded home weatherization programs is healthy and low in environmental impact. In a special project with EPA Region 9 and StopWaste, Pharos is surveying cellulose, fiberglass and cotton products to understand the current state of the industry on a variety of k...


Pharos cuts through endangered wood confusion

Tom Lent | August 26, 2010 | Tools

Use of biobased materials whether from agricultural plants or from trees is appealing in green building due to their renewable nature. However, overharvesting, plantation farming, chemical use and other problems threaten many species of trees with extinction as well as threatening entire forest habitats and the animals and humans that depend upon t...


Healthy Paints Part 2: Beyond VOC Content – Getting the Toxics Out

Tom Lent | June 24, 2010 | Policies

Last week we described the major reductions in VOC content we are seeing in paints (Paint Industry Drives Toward Zero VOCs -- Will Certifications Catch Up?). But does a low-VOC content number mean these paints are actually safe from the perspective of environmental health? Not necessarily.

As we described in an earlier blog (Sorting Out The VOCs),...


Congress passes CA-based formaldehyde limits for composite wood

Tom Lent | June 24, 2010 | Policies

The US Congress has approved legislation[1] to limit allowable emissions of formaldehyde from composite wood products, specifically hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard sold in the United States. The new limits in are based on the levels established for the State of California in 2007 by the California Air Resources Board (...


EPA Adds to Your Right to Know What’s Coming from That Smokestack

Tom Lent | April 06, 2010 | Policies

US EPA proposed today to add 16 chemicals to the Toxic Release Inventory list which identifies the chemicals that companies must report if they send them up their smokestacks, out their sewage lines or into landfills -- the first such addition in over a decade. The 16 are chemicals that have been classified as "reasonably anticipated to be a h...


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

Tom Lent | February 25, 2010 | Optimizing 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...