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Rapid change sweeps flooring industry

James Vallette | November 13, 2015 | Materials

Resilient floors and carpets made today are quite different than those made just a few years ago.  On Monday morning, I will join flooring experts from manufacturing firms, architecture and design firms, and hospitals, to discuss these changes at the Healthcare Design Conference in Washington, D.C. (1)

From recycled content to plasticizers to...

Residential Fiberglass Insulation Transformed: Formaldehyde is No More

James Vallette | October 30, 2015 | Materials

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...

Clear Lessons For Recycling Glass In Building Products

James Vallette | September 30, 2015 | Materials

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...

The end is near for phthalate plasticizers

James Vallette | July 09, 2015 | Materials

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...

Consumer Reports warns parents: phthalates migrate from PVC floors

James Vallette | July 09, 2015 | Optimizing Recycling

Parents should wash their toddlers’ hands, and regularly mop vinyl floors, especially if children crawl on the floors, warns the Consumers Union in the August 2015 issue of Consumer Reports. (1)


The Consumers Union is the advocacy arm of the venerable Consumers Reports magazine. It has “long raised concerns about phthalates,&rd...

New health concerns about common additives to carpet fibers

James Vallette | July 08, 2015 | Materials

Public health experts are sounding new alarms about two types of chemicals that are applied to carpet fibers: perchlorate anti-static treatments and perfluorochemical stain repellents.

Perchlorate anti-static treatments

Carpet manufacturers often add anti-static (antistat) treatments to carpet fibers, in order to prevent the buildup of electri...

Fly ash in concrete causing flooring installation failures

James Vallette | June 15, 2015 | Materials

Floor Trends magazine last week uploaded an enlightening video interview with consultant Lew Migliore (LGM & Associates). Migliore raised an issue that is just coming to light in the flooring industry: increasing proportions of fly ash in concrete underlayment are causing flooring installation failures.

“The fly ash issue has j...

Of Phthalates and Fraud: A Twitter mini-series

James Vallette | June 09, 2015 | Materials

Intro. #FollowTheMoney: Sixteen tweets on phthalates and fraud:inside @ExxonMobil’s efforts to save its poison plasticizers.— Jim Vallette (@HBNJim) June 2, 2015

Pt1 #FollowTheMoney 1998: American Council on Science and Health (@ASCHorg) hires Dr. Gilbert Ross, fresh out of prison, as Medical Director— Jim Vallette (@HBNJim) June 2, 2...

Bees Need Healthy Buildings Too

James Vallette | March 26, 2015 | Materials

In the course of researching polystyrene foam insulation, the Healthy Building Network research team came to understand that these materials are susceptible to termite infestation. Polystyrene insulation manufacturers commonly add insecticides to combat termites, especially in exterior and below grade insulation. This includes a type of Styrofoam m...