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HBN Blog category: Materials

Eliminating Toxics in Carpet: Lessons for the Future of Recycling

James Vallette | October 18, 2017

"Eliminating Toxics in Carpets: Lessons for the Future of Recycling" - a new report by the Healthy Building Network (HBN) - calls for eliminating over 40 highly toxic chemicals in carpets that threaten public health and impede recycling. These toxics are known to cause respiratory disease, heart attacks, strokes, asthma, and immune and de...

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HBN Blog category: Policies

From NIMBY to Now in Everyone’s Backyard

James Vallette | June 23, 2016

When one waste disposal option closes, another inevitably opens.  A half-century ago, the federal government started regulating solid wastes and preventing rampant dumping in the woods, ocean, and unlined dumps. Then the so-called Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) movement of the 1970s and 1980s prevented scores of landfills and incinerators from bei...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

East of Flint, One Company Defiantly Continues To Produce Lead Pigments

James Vallette | February 18, 2016

If you are outraged by the lead poisoning of children in Flint, Michigan, take a look at what's happening just 250 miles to the east in Toronto, where a Canadian company continues to produce lead compounds and distribute them worldwide for use in paints and plastics. Long after most of us have thought lead pigments were no longer in commerce,...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Does Your Paint Contain Cobalt Mined By Children In The #DRC?

James Vallette | February 05, 2016

Amnesty International recently reported on the connection between popular consumer products and cobalt mined by young children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Their research “exposes the need for transparency, without which multinationals can profit from human-rights abuses like child labor without checking where and how the raw ma...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Common Decking and Insulation Pesticide is a Honeybee Killer

James Vallette | January 21, 2016

At very low concentrations, a chemical widely used to kill termites also harms honeybees, according to a new US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study. [2]  Manufacturers incorporate imidacloprid into exterior products like polystyrene insulation, vinyl siding, adhesives, sealants, and pressure-treated wood decking. Imidacloprid...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Residential Fiberglass Insulation Transformed: Formaldehyde is No More

James Vallette | October 30, 2015

Earlier this year, one last piece of light density residential fiberglass insulation bearing formaldehyde-based binder rolled off a production line somewhere in the Midwest United States. Then the line stopped, and a new binder came on line.  As of October 2015, every fiberglass insulation company in the United States and Canada has phased out...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

Clear Lessons For Recycling Glass In Building Products

James Vallette | September 30, 2015

The use of recycling materials in building products is evolving. The latest version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED version 4) green building rating system no longer explicitly credits recycled materials, but it does reward transparency and disclosure of product lifecycles and contents. While recycling is more important t...

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HBN Blog category: Materials

The end is near for phthalate plasticizers

James Vallette | July 09, 2015

The market for toxic plasticizers in building materials is closing.  Yesterday, a third major retailer – Menards – announced that it is following Home Depot and Lowe’s leads, and will end the use of phthalate plasticizers in its vinyl floors by the end of 2015.  This follows similar actions by the world’s largest f...

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