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

HBN Blog category: Newsletter

This Holiday Season, Help Us Celebrate Progress and Build Possibility

Gina Ciganik | December 2018 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

First, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who responded to our newsletter appeal in November or contributed as part of #GivingTuesday. Your donations make our work possible and represent an investment in a vision we know you share – a future where all people and the planet thrive when the environment is free of hazardous chemicals.

If you’re still considering your end-of-year or holiday giving plans, we hope you’ll think of us. In 2018, we achieved great momentum, and we see the potential for even more acceleration toward a healthier world. As we reflect on the progress we’ve made together, we invite you to help us imagine new possibilities as we collectively Know Better.

Read More


HBN Blog category: Newsletter

The Not So Secret Formula: a Major Milestone for Transparency?

Bill Walsh | December 2018 Newsletter

Did you know that the first ingredient listed in many name-brand infant formulas is corn syrup? I learned this during a late-night run to CVS in search of a post-Thanksgiving feast for my infant granddaughter. Her mother, my daughter, admonished me, “Make sure you read the label; no corn syrup.” In the end, she came with me. Just to make sure.  

That got me thinking about how far the building industry lags behind the sort of basic transparency we expect in virtually every other aspect of our lives, and how the recent Greenbuild announcement by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC) could change that. 

Read More


HBN Blog category: Newsletter

From Climate Change to Health: Material Selection Has Never Been More Important

Bill Walsh | November 2018 Newsletter

With apologies to T.S. Eliot, October was the “cruellest month.” On October 7, 2018, the global scientific consensus on climate change was revised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to conclude that catastrophic climate disaster is irrefutably underway and requires a level of “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

Five days later, the world pumped more oil and petroleum liquids than ever before. And the International Energy Agency forecast that “the largest driver of world oil demand” will soon be petrochemicals, led by plastic materials. Building materials are the second-largest use of plastics after packaging.

Read More


HBN Blog category: Newsletter

Help Us Build a World Where All People and the Planet Thrive

Gina Ciganik | November 2018 Newsletter

A letter from Gina Ciganik, CEO and Bill Walsh, Founder and Board President

Reflecting on 2018, we think of two words: Progress and Possibility. We’ve achieved great momentum toward our vision, which we know you share—a future where all people and the planet thrive when the environment is free of hazardous chemicals. And we see the potential for acceleration toward a healthier world.

As we celebrate progress together, we also imagine the possibilities that will arise as we collectively Know Better. Your contribution will help fund the research, education, and initiatives needed to advance human and environmental health and inspire critical product innovation in the building industry and beyond.

Read More


HBN Blog category: Newsletter

Bill Walsh Honored by WE ACT for Environmental Justice

Gina Ciganik | November 2018 Newsletter

On October 16, WE ACT recognized HBN founder and board president Bill Walsh at its 30th Anniversary Awards and Gala. WE ACT for Environmental Justice, which operates in both New York City and Washington, D.C., seeks to build healthy communities by ensuring people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. The group honored Bill for his outstanding work to advance the environmental and social justice movement over the past 25 years.

WE ACT’s deputy director, Cecil Corbin-Mark, noted that HBN’s work to transform the building industry and create healthier affordable housing for all is more important than ever. Congratulations, Bill, on this well-deserved recognition.

Read More


HBN Blog category: Newsletter

Affordable Housing Sector Is Advancing Healthier Materials for All

Billy Weber | November 2018 Newsletter

Healthy Building Network is excited to announce our new partnership with Housing Partnership Network (HPN) and its procurement platform, HPN Select. Our aim is to leverage our combined strengths and expertise to make affordable housing environments healthier for residents and for the practitioners who build and maintain them.

By merging the power of the Select marketplace with HBN’s research and our HomeFree initiative’s in-depth information about the health impacts of building materials, we’ll increase our capacity to shape innovative solutions and encourage the adoption of healthier materials throughout the affordable housing sector. This, in turn, will create solutions for everyone—not just those with financial means.

Read More


HBN Blog category: Newsletter

NOMA Panel Addresses the Role of Race in Pollution Exposure

Bill Walsh | November 2018 Newsletter

Last month, HBN Board Member Brad Grant moderated a panel at NOMA Unbounded, the annual conference of the National Organization of Minority Architects. The panel coincided with recent studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that found race, more than poverty, was most closely associated with the heaviest pollution exposure from the fossil fuel industry; and a National Academy of Sciences report that found blacks and Hispanics endure greater exposure to toxics from industrial facilities, while gaining fewer jobs from those facilities than white populations. How can we close these gaps?

Read More


HBN Blog category: Newsletter

Paint Companies to Pay $400 Million for Lead Paint Clean-up

Rebecca Stamm | November 2018 Newsletter

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of paint companies in a California case where the state appeals court ordered Sherwin-Williams, NL Industries, and Conagra to pay about $400 million for the cleanup of lead paint in old homes. Several cities and counties in California brought the suit, saying that the companies and their trade associations promoted lead paint well after they knew it was harmful. “This is a very significant victory for the tens of thousands of California children who have been poisoned by lead paint,” said Greta S. Hansen, a Santa Clara County lawyer.

Santa Clara brought the lawsuit on behalf of 10 cities and counties including San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. The decision serves as an important reminder to manufacturers of the need to understand the contents and associated hazards of their products and to be transparent about those hazards to customers. Because of the argument used in this case, the ramifications may well extend beyond building products.

Read More


HBN Blog category: Newsletter

Now That We See, What Will We Do About Fly Ash?

Bill Walsh | October 2018 Newsletter

When celebrated Victorian painter Edward Burne-Jones learned that a favorite pigment—it was called Mummy Brown—was in fact manufactured from the desecrated Egyptian dead, he banished it from his palette and bore his remaining tubes to a solemn burial in his English garden. Once you know better, you have to do better. Transparency in the supply chain can reveal inconvenient truths about favored products. Take the fly ash that’s used to gain recycled content credit in LEED and the Living Building Challenge . . . .

Read More