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From NIMBY to Now in Everyone’s Backyard

James Vallette | June 23, 2016 | Policies

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...

On Tire Wastes in Playgrounds

James Vallette | June 16, 2016 | Materials

As temperatures rise on ballfields across America, so do concerns over the piles of tire waste upon which children play. Synthetic turf playing fields lie atop heaps of finely ground recycled rubber from old tires. In playgrounds, chopped up tire mulch is becoming as common as dirt.  In the United States between 2007 and 2013, enough ground ti...

Filled with Uncertainty: Toxic Dirt in Building & Construction

James Vallette | June 13, 2016 | Materials

In a cavernous, lightly filled, State House hearing room last month[2]

Over in New York City, regulators have cracked down on soil traders, and say contaminated fill is going into the “cheapest hole.”[4], that received over 11 millions of tons of waste to recycle, including contaminated soil.[6] After losing its license, Pure...

The Vinyl Industry Strikes Back

James Vallette | April 29, 2016 | Policies

The Vinyl Institute, a trade association of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) manufacturers, this month launched a blog site, called Vinyl Verified, which embodies the spirit of this year’s presidential campaign. The industry website launched with a suite of posts that try to discredit transparency and disclosure tools, many that the modern green buil...

Still Crazy After All These Years: Mercury Cells in the Heart of America

James Vallette | March 22, 2016 | Materials

For many decades, the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) depended upon a controversial technology invented in the 1890s that polluted the air and water with mercury. Today is World Water Day, and it’s worth noting that some factories still use this toxic technology, and are pouring mercury waste into rivers, lakes and oceans around the w...

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

James Vallette | February 12, 2016 | Materials

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, near 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...

Recycled Rubber Flooring Manufacturer Adopts HBN Recommendations

James Vallette | February 09, 2016 | Materials

In this month’s Environmental Building News, Paula Melton takes a deep look into the issue of recycled tires used in resilient flooring. She expands upon several issues, such as the use and presence of additives like benzothiazole, that we touched upon a few years ago in the Healthy Building Network (HBN) report, Avoiding Contaminants in Tire...

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

James Vallette | February 05, 2016 | Materials

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...

Common decking and insulation pesticide is a honeybee-killer

James Vallette | January 14, 2016 | Materials

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 migrates f...

New Research Shows Formaldehyde No Longer Used in Residential Fiberglass Insulation

James Vallette | November 18, 2015 | Materials

The BlueGreen Alliance Foundation and Healthy Building Network made the following announcement coincident with today's opening of the Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Washington DC.  Both organizations have booths in the Expo hall (BGAF is located at Booth #t3766 and HBN is at Booth #2622).