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.

Lauren Heine Joins MaterialWise, Enhancing Science, Data and Collaboration Capabilities

HBN | April 2019 | Newsletter

Dr. Lauren Heine has joined MaterialWise as Director of Safer Materials & Data Integrity. A pioneering leader in the field of green chemistry, Heine brings decades of experience and leadership in green chemistry and engineering, alternatives assessment and multi-stakeholder collaboration which will accelerate MaterialWise’s efforts to enable a prosperous, toxic-free future for people, the planet and commerce.


Emissions from Carpet Tiles Sickens Three Minnesota Workers

HBN | April 2019 | Newsletter

Symptoms of “sick building” syndrome include “headache; eye, nose, or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; and sensitivity to odors”. These symptoms can develop after long-term exposures, or they can occur after a single instance of exposure, as in the case reported by the Minnesota Daily last month. Three carpet installers were sent to the emergency room after installing carpeting in an apartment building intended for student housing near the University of Minnesota. The workers could not tell doctors what they were exposed to because the carpeting did not include a complete list of contents. To find out, the workers first measured the air quality with a device ordered off of Amazon, which immediately “jumped to red” when exposed to the carpeting. The Minneapolis Building and Construction Trade Council then sent carpet samples to a lab for emissions testing. This testing found total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) at levels that “significantly exceed” typical levels in the air. The chemicals noted on the report included some on the Minnesota Department of Health list of Chemicals of High Concern.


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.