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.

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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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 . . . .


Please welcome Bruce Green, our new Chief Operations Officer

Gina Ciganik | October 2018 | Newsletter

We’re proud to announce that Bruce Green has joined HBN’s leadership team as Chief Operations Officer (COO). With 33 years experience in business operations, change management, and software development, Bruce will advance our organizational systems and lead our technology and data platforms into their next chapter. Prior to joining HBN, Bruce was COO of Navitaire (within Accenture LLP), an airline SaaS business he helped grow into a global industry leader. There, he led day- to-day business operations, helped increase product quality, and drove customer satisfaction to over 95% of target. He also led the 20-month, $830M carve out sale of the Navitaire business from Accenture into Amadeus.  Bruce holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of North Dakota.


Careful Insulation Selection and Installation Can Protect R-Value and Health

Rebecca Stamm | October 2018 | Newsletter

Proper techniques and protection are necessary during the installation of insulation to achieve optimal product performance, but also to protect the health of workers and residents. Because incorrect installation can lead to compromised performance and safety, it’s critical to carefully follow installation protocols for any product. Most product literature suggests the use of some level of personal protective equipment (PPE) when installing insulation products, but the level of protection required varies widely among different types of insulation. Because the most effective way to avoid hazardous exposure is to eliminate hazardous chemicals altogether, the controls currently recommended by the SPF industry provide the lowest tiers of protection. In this article, you’ll find background on installation considerations for fiber glass, cellulose, and spray foam insulation.


Look for us at NOMA Unbounded, October 17-20

Bill Walsh | October 2018 | Newsletter

HBN Board Member Brad Grant will lead an expert panel on environmental health and justice at NOMA Unbounded, the annual convention of the National Association of Minority Architects to be held in Chicago, October 17-20. Grant, a professor of architecture at Howard University, will be joined by award winning architects Roberta Washington and Tony Crusor, HBN Founder Bill Walsh, and Cecil Corbin Mark, Deputy Director of the West Harlem Environmental Action Group (WEACT). They’ll discuss Materials Composition, The Design Process and Human Health, Welfare, and Environmental Justice.

Learn more about the conference and schedule


Chemical Pollution Disproportionately Impacts Marginalized Communities, Including Their Water Supplies

Gina Ciganik | October 2018 | Newsletter

Lower-income communities are disproportionately affected by pollution and chemical hazards. Now, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is working to raise awareness of its effects and demand change. New York Times author Kendra Pierre-Louis chronicles his efforts in Greensboro, North Carolina, where coal ash is threatening the groundwater, and potentially the drinking water of residents.

Read more