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Posted on Mar 15, 2017 in General

New Report on Antimicrobial Building Products: Avoid Whenever Possible

Earlier this month, Healthy Building Network and the architecture firm Perkins+Will released the outcome of a year’s worth of research on the topic of antimicrobials in building products. After reviewing statements made by several government agencies, scientific and research publications, and claims made about individual products, Healthy Environments: Understanding Antimicrobial Ingredients in Building Materials concludes that there remains no evidence that the use of antimicrobial building products has any benefit to human health, and that these products should be avoided whenever possible.

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Posted on Feb 13, 2017 in General

Does Healthy SPF Exist?

Spray Foam products marketed as being healthier may be formulated without some of the hazardous chemicals traditionally found in SPF products, but don’t replace the really bad actor chemicals. SPF insulation - even those with improved formulations - remain at the bottom of our Stoplight chart, in dark red.

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Posted on Jan 18, 2017 in General

Don’t Get Stuck With an Unhealthy Adhesive

We’ve heard from several HomeFree users that they’d like help understanding their best options for flooring adhesives. In response, Healthy Building Network has created another “stoplight chart” for adhesives ranking the most common options.

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Posted on Dec 19, 2016 in General

Trimming Interior Hazards Through Careful Selection of Millwork

In a standard two-bedroom apartment, there could be as many as 450 linear feet of baseboard, casings, and other trim. Follow these tips to minimize the hazardous materials in these applications.

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Posted on Dec 19, 2016 in General

Getting A Better Handle on Cabinet Specifications

Cabinet fronts, doors, and drawer fronts tend to be made from solid hardwood. However, the rest of the cabinet is generally made from various composite wood materials, such as plywood or particleboard, which can release formaldehyde into indoor air. Follow these tips to minimize the impact that cabinets have on interior spaces:

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Posted on Dec 19, 2016 in General

Avoiding Hazardous Material in Doors

When you consider the number of doors installed in a typical home, it’s clear that careful selection of the materials in those doors can have multiplying effects. Follow these tips to limit the amount of formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals introduced into your project.

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Posted on Dec 14, 2016 in General

Reevaluating Insulation Materials To Create Healthier Spaces

“Without a clear focus on the safety and health of the materials used to make affordable housing more energy efficient, we will be trading lower energy costs for greater health impacts and ignoring the potential manufacturing job growth from the production of safer materials.” - Kimberly Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance

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Posted on Dec 12, 2016 in Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Blowing Agent

A class of chemicals that can generate foam in materials, such as those used in insulation, which later harden or solidify into long-lasting structures. Many are known to possess extremely high global warming potential; chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been mostly eliminated from new production since the 2000s, but hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are still prevalent. Blowing agents, as a class of products used in building product manufacture, are in an active transition toward healthier and more environmentally friendly options.

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Posted on Dec 12, 2016 in Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas used as a preservative and disinfectant in the building industry, and in the manufacture of polymers. Formaldehyde is carcinogenic, irritates the eyes, nose, and lungs, and is known to react with other atmospheric chemicals to produce the deadly toxin carbon monoxide. Formaldehyde is used in some paints and adhesives, in some fabric treatments, and, significantly, in the manufacture of polymeric binding resins used in a wide variety of building products. Phenol formaldehyde, urea formaldehyde, and melamine formaldehyde are all known to release formaldehyde over time long after product installation in residential and commercial spaces.

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Posted on Dec 12, 2016 in Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Known as “greenhouse gasses,” certain gasses have the ability to warm the earth by absorbing heat from the sun and trapping it the atmosphere. Global Warming Potential is a tool that allows scientists to compare the severity of greenhouse gasses based on how much heat they can trap, and how long they remain in the atmosphere. By using carbon dioxide for each comparison, a larger GWP number, the more a gas warms the earth, and contributes to climate change. Look for GWP data on Environmental Product Declarations, and learn more about interpreting these numbers here.

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