Blogs

Take an inside look into emerging markets and trends. Gain valuable new perspectives from HBN experts and our partners. Be inspired to know better.

Newly Completed Inventory of Chlorine & PVC Production Sheds New Light on Supply Chain Challenges

Teresa McGrath and Jim Vallette | March 2019 | Newsletter

Demand from the building industry now drives the production of chlorine, the key ingredient of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) widely used in pipes, siding, roofing membranes, wall covering, flooring, and carpeting. Chlorine is also an essential feedstock for epoxies used in adhesives and flooring topcoats, and for polyurethane used in insulation and flooring.  On March 19, 2019, the Healthy Building Network will release Phase 2 of its landmark report on chlorine-based plastics that are widely used in common building and construction products. The report, “​Chlorine and Building Materials: A Global Inventory of Production Technologies, Markets, and Pollution. Phase 2: Asia,”​ completes HBN’s global analysis of the industry.  


New Resource for Specifying Healthier Insulation and Sealants

Rebecca Stamm | March 2019 | Newsletter

Healthy Building Network, along with Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), has released “Guidance for Specifying Healthier Insulation and Air-Sealing Materials,” a new resource to help those working in multifamily energy efficiency upgrades make healthier material choices.


HBN is Hiring!

Teresa McGrath | March 2019 | Newsletter

Be part of a non-profit organization that is making the world a healthier place. We are seeking an experienced Materials Researcher to contribute to HBN's body of research on building products, chemicals, and related health hazards. Click here for more information or to apply. 
 


Banksy & Building Products: The Justice of Full Transparency

Bill Walsh | January 2019 | Newsletter

The powerful new Banksy mural that appeared in a small town in Wales just before Christmas 2018 seems at first to be a timeless and global statement. But like the Dickensian dystopia it evokes, it is also particular to a place and time – Port Talbot, a town situated hard against the Tata Steel mill on Wales’ southwest coast.  People, especially those of us who define what healthy buildings and healthy products are, have a right, and an obligation, to know where building products come from, and what life is like there.


The Solution is Transparency: Public disclosure of product content and hazard is critical to solving material health challenges

Tom Lent and Rebecca Stamm | January 2019 | Newsletter

Manufacturers are sometimes understandably reticent to reveal the “secret sauce” behind their building product formulations. In recent years, however, we have learned that thousands of the substances used in our built environment endanger human and environmental health. Many more substances have yet to be fully evaluated. Only through full public disclosure and assessment of contents and hazards can we identify and solve the problems — in buildings, on worksites, and in communities — created by hazardous substances in building products.

In this article, HBN outlines why the building industry needs to demand full public disclosure of product content and hazard.  


National Healthy Housing Leaders Announced as HomeFree Champions

Billy Weber | January 2019 | Newsletter

Healthy Building Network is excited to announce the HomeFree Champions who will shape and guide HomeFree, our initiative to support affordable housing leaders who are improving human health by decreasing their use of toxic building materials.

The 16 members are a dynamic group of national and regional healthy-housing experts who represent cross-sector disciplines. “We are honored to be working with top innovators who have been creating the healthiest, high-efficiency buildings in the country, and who are willing to share their knowledge with others,” says Gina Ciganik, CEO of Healthy Building Network.


MaterialWise Seeks Director of Science & Verification

Stacy Glass | January 2019 | Newsletter

MaterialWise is seeking a Ph.D chemist, toxicologist (or similar technical background) to scale the program. MaterialWise is a non-profit initiative to build a globally harmonized chemical hazard assessment repository of third-party verified alternative assessments. They have engaged leading brands including Target, Google, Nike, Levis, Steelcase, Method and others in the design of this program to provide an evidence base that empowers manufacturers to move toward safer chemistry and avoid regrettable substitutions as an unintended consequence of list based chemical management programs.

With philanthropic support from Target, Schmidt Futures, C&A Foundation and others, they are building a team of full-time employees to implement a scalability plan over the next 3-years. This senior position will be critical to their success. The ideal candidate will have an unwavering commitment to scientific data quality, a bit of entrepreneurial spirit, and a desire to apply better chemistry for a better world.  

Send inquiries to Stacy Glass (stacy@materialwise.org) or apply online via Indeed.


AIA Code of Ethics Now Includes Healthier, More Sustainable Materials

Rebecca Stamm | December 2018 | Newsletter

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), a professional association for architects, recently made several additions to its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct with the intention of improving sustainability and decreasing the health impacts of materials. The new code, which outlines the tenets of ethical behavior by all AIA members, states that “members should select and use building materials to minimize exposure to toxins and pollutants in the environment to promote environmental and human health and to reduce waste and pollution.”

In addition to these ethical standards, which guide the work of AIA chapters and  members (numbering over 260 and over 91,000, respectively), the organization offers a step-by-step protocol for setting healthier materials goals that educates members on design and implementation best practices. We applaud the AIA for including consideration of material health impacts as a tenet of ethical behavior. We look forward to providing continued guidance to the architecture and design communities as they work with their clients to make product choices that are healthier for all people and the planet.

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