Blogs

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EPA's "Chemicals of Concern" in Green Building Products

Bill Walsh | January 13, 2010 | Materials

On December 30, 2009, the US EPA initiated a process that could result in the regulation of health threats from four classes of chemicals that have been widely used in building materials. This action directs new attention to “green” building product standards that do not adequately account for health impacts, and underscores why transpa...


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...


The Decline of Deca

Paul Bogart | December 18, 2009 | Policies

The voluntary phase-out agreement announced yesterday between the EPA and major US manufacturers of a class of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) is a significant step forward in efforts to protect the environment and public health from unhealthy chemicals.Like most "voluntary" agreements between EPA and industry; "voluntary" do...


Formaldehyde in Homes: Not Just in FEMA Katrina Trailers

Tom Lent | December 16, 2009 | Policies

It turns out that occupants of the infamous FEMA Katrina trailers are not the only ones at risk from formaldehyde. A recent report on formaldehyde in new homes from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) found that nearly all of the 108 homes they studied had formaldehyde concentrations that exceeded guidelines for cancer and chronic irritation...


Yes, Virginia

Bill Walsh | December 16, 2009 | Optimizing Recycling

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist. We won’t soon forget 2009, a year of tremendous challenges, accomplishments, and fun. In fact, our April 1st newsletter "Introducing Organic Vinyl" was so much fun we had to issue a retraction to stem the tide of angry emails and...


Cancer in the Kitchen...

Julie Silas | December 07, 2009 | Policies

Until I read "Cancer from the Kitchen," Nicholas Kristof's opinion piece in this Sunday's New York Times, I actually thought I would take an entire weekend for my family, putting work aside for two days. But, Kristof's article was a reminder that there is little that separates my home from my work these days.Kristof posed the "What i...


Greenwash at Greenbuild, Gambling in Casablanca

Bill Walsh | December 02, 2009 | Policies

Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! Croupier: Your winnings, sir. Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much. Captain Renault: Everybody out at once![1] The reports are in. There’s gambling in Casablanca. Treehugger found the usual suspects on the exhibition floor.[2] GreenBiz too re...


The Story of Cap & Trade

Bill Walsh | December 01, 2009 | Policies

Global warming potential - like many health, environmental, and social issues - is hard to tag with a single number. That is why the Pharos Project is developing multi-attribute profiles for the products that go into our buildings everyday. To date, our research suggests that many factors must be addressed in combating the climate crisis, leaving t...


This Thanksgiving: See the Forest Through the Beans

Bill Walsh | November 23, 2009 | Policies

Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans and Doug Pierce of Perkins + Will I was standing in the coffee aisle of my local co-op last Wednesday, the bustle around me signaling the start of the Thanksgiving rush. Sipping a complimentary decaf, handed to me by Dean Cycon, owner of Dean’s Beans coffee, one of the co-ops most popular brands, I couldn&rsquo...