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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...


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...


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...


Manufactured Housing: Blessing or Curse For Katrina Survivors?

James Vallette | January 23, 2006 | Materials

In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, HBN launched GreenRelief to initiate and assist efforts that emphasize environmental and social justice when rebuilding communities and restoring the natural environment. HBN investigator Jim Vallette has traveled to the Gulf States region repeatedly to assess the opportunities and barriers affecting gree...