PVC’s Asbestos & Mercury Problems

Bill Walsh - October 3, 2016

For those of you attending Greenbuild this week, I cordially invite you to my Wednesday morning panel, Let's Talk About PVC. Join me in conversation with a group of experts who have highly divergent views on the topic of whether polyvinylchloride plastic (PVC) is a green building material. For those of you who cannot attend, consider this: Asbestos is an essential component of chlorine, and therefore, PVC production in the USA. [1] According to IHS Markit, "Chlorine consumption and production are driven by the construction industry." [2] PVC demand correlates closely with construction spending. Chlorine is the main ingredient (60% by weight), the "C" in PVC.   Visit HBN at Booth Number 1629.     Wednesday, October 5: HBN Founder & President will speak on the panel "Let's Talk About PVC" from 8:00 to 10:00 AM Session: A13, Room 501 ABC   Thursday, October 6: HBN Board... Read More

Ethylene Flood Threatens Viability of Polyethylene Recycling

Wes Sullens and Jim Vallette - September 23, 2016

Not all recycled content materials are created equal - especially when it comes to recycled plastics. In a new report released by StopWaste and the Healthy Building Network, we take an in-depth look at the health implications, supply chain considerations, and potential to scale up recycling of the world’s most common plastic: Polyethylene (aka PE). [1] This report, Post-Consumer Polyethylene in Building Products, is the latest installment in our Optimizing Recycling series. Polyethylene is a material widely used in product packaging, beverage containers, and myriad consumer products. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), and Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) are all readily recyclable in California. Polyethylene plastic scrap bottles and plastic bags usually have minimal contents of concern and are easily processed into feedstock for new products, including building materials. Despite the great potential for... Read More

FDA Rule Casts More Doubt On Anti-Microbial Building Products

Bill Walsh - September 7, 2016

Last Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new regulation that bans 19 antimicrobial chemicals, including triclosan and triclocarban, used in hand soaps. [1] According to the FDA: "Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). "In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term."   The FDA's action reinforces HBN's longstanding conclusion that anti-microbial substances added to building products fail to provide any additional human health protection, and are likely to do more harm than good over the long term. The substances banned by the FDA have been added to HBN's Pharos Project Chemical and Materials Library as... Read More

HBN Speakers at Second Annual Living Product Expo Pittsburgh, PA | Sept 13-15, 2016

Bill Walsh - August 29, 2016

  Pictured: Bill Walsh, Founder and President; Jim Vallette, Director of Research; Robin Guenther, HBN Board Member.  Dear Subscribers,   I'd like to take the opportunity to tell you about three speaking engagements HBN staff and board have at the Living Product Expo in Pittsburgh this September 13-15.   HBN Founder & President Bill Walsh will join Dana Bourland, Vice President of Environment at The JPB Foundation, Kim Glas, Executive Director, Blue Green Alliance, and Amanda Sturgeon, CEO, International Living Future Institute on Wednesday, September 14 * 10:00am - 11:30am * to discuss "Creating a Healthy Materials Economy for All".   Abstract: It is an unfortunate fact that the environmental toxins pervasive in our buildings often have the greatest impact... Read More

Post-Consumer Flexible Polyurethane Foam Scrap Used In Building Products

Rebecca Stamm and Wes Sullens - July 29, 2016

Most post-consumer flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) collected for recycling today contains highly toxic flame retardants. The vast majority of this scrap material is recycled into one type of new building product: bonded carpet cushion. While the practice of diverting vast amounts of FPF from landfills represents a recycling success story, the potential health hazards to vulnerable populations make us question whether the benefits of recycling are worth the risk. In April, we released a preliminary white paper on post-consumer FPF used in building products. We posted the working draft to inform a Green Science Policy Institute-led initiative to research disposal options for waste FPF that contains toxic flame retardants. Today, after further investigation into this topic, we are releasing the final report, Optimizing Recycling: Post-Consumer Flexible Polyurethane Foam Scrap Used In Building Products. Our findings indicate that most post-consumer FPF collected... Read More

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