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Posted on Nov 17, 2016 in General

Solid Choices in Healthier Countertops

The Homefree website now includes a “stoplight chart” for Countertops. Topping the list for healthier countertop materials is lead-free (US-made) ceramic tile, followed by solid surface products such as Corian, then engineered quartz and cultured marble. Plastic laminate and granite fall to the bottom of the ranking.

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Posted on Nov 17, 2016 in General

A Cheat Sheet for Decoding Vinyl Product Literature

HBN created a "cheat sheet" to help connect the dots between our guidance on vinyl flooring and the technical literature produced by manufacturers. Have this sheet at the ready when a vinyl floor is necessary on your next project, and you're looking to make it as healthy as possible.

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Posted on Oct 27, 2016 in General

Brief: Post-Consumer Polyethylene in Building Products

Learn how affordable housing communities can help ensure the quality of recycled polyethylene plastics, preventing contaminants from being incorporated into future building products made from this scrap. Healthy Building Network’s research into current recycling practices offers guidance.

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Posted on Oct 24, 2016 in General

Spectrum of Flooring Options Now Includes Ceramic Tiles

At your request, we’ve expanded the chart once again to include two variations of ceramic tiles on the market: those manufactured in the USA and those manufactured abroad.

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Posted on Sep 9, 2016 in General

Selecting the Wrong Drywall Could Introduce Mercury into the Environment

Make a big impact without paying more or sacrificing performance by ensuring your specification provides an incentive for drywall with: 1. The highest percentage of natural gypsum possible. 2. The lowest amount of pre-consumer recycled content. 3. A preference for post-consumer recycled content. When using healthier drywall products, encourage your contractor to separate waste for recycling. Watch this short video on recycling drywall.

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Posted on Sep 9, 2016 in Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Flue-Gas Desulfurization (FGD)

Flue-gas desulfurization is an environmental control technology installed in the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants designed to remove pollutants from the air. These controls are also called “scrubbers”. Once the scrubbers are full of sulfur dioxide, they are often used to create synthetic gypsum. FGD gypsum can be used in drywall, but also in concrete and other applications where mined gypsum can be used. FGD can contain heavy metals such as mercury that can be released into the air when it is incorporated into these products.

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Posted on Sep 9, 2016 in Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Lifecycle

In biology, the term “lifecycle” describes the arc an organism undergoes from birth, through stages of growth and development, to its death. When applied to building products, “lifecycle”describes the arc that chemicals or materials take from the extraction of the raw materials needed for their creation, through their synthesis and inclusion in a building product, the period of time that the product is installed in a building, its eventual removal from the building, and its disposal/reuse/recycling at the end of its useful life. Products (and the chemicals and materials used to make them) often present human and environmental health hazards at any step in this lifecycle.

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Posted on Aug 19, 2016 in General

Brief: Post-Consumer Flexible Polyurethane Foam Scrap Used In Building Products

Carpet cushion (that soft layer installed between a sub-floor and a carpet) is made from flexible polyurethane foam (FPF). Generally that foam is recycled scrap from the manufacture of furniture, such as couch cushions, or old carpet cushion itself. Healthy Building Network’s research into current recycling practices for FPF indicates that most post-consumer foam is contaminated with highly toxic flame retardants.

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Posted on Aug 10, 2016 in Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Tint

Tints are a mix of pigments and other ingredients that give paints their distinct color. These tints can be a substantial source of VOC content in addition to whatever VOCs are in the paint itself. Darker and richer colors will tend to be higher in VOC content. Some manufacturers have developed low or zero VOC tint lines that can be used to insure that a low VOC paint product remains so even in dark or rich colors.

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Posted on Aug 10, 2016 in Word of the Week

Word of the Week: VOCs

Volatile organic compounds (VOC) means any compound of carbon (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides or carbonates, and ammonium carbonate), which react in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight.

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