Flame retardants (FRs) are a group of additives that include toxic chemicals shown to be harmful to human and environmental health in many ways. With the enactment of California’s TB117-2013 for furniture fire safety and The Chicago Tribune’s scathing investigative report about FR manufacturers’ misleading marketing efforts, we learned that toxic chemicals are not the only way to support... Read more »
What kind of impacts do the materials we put into our built environments have on us? Every day, we’re discovering new answers to this question. The fact is, all across their lifecycles, the products used to build, furnish, decorate, and even clean our spaces have ripple effects on our health, wellbeing, and environmental footprint. The more informed we can be about the materials we’re using, the better—and safer—our built environments will be.
Perkins+Will is built upon the idea of interdisciplinary work informed by research. How can we as designers, researchers, architects, strategists, and planners converge with epidemiologists, biologists, exposure scientists, environmentalists, and toxicologists to uncover opportunities for discovery, research, and ultimately solutions?
The demand for non-toxic building products is encouraging manufacturers to replace “worst offender” chemicals with safer alternatives. This presents an opportunity for manufacturers to innovate with greener chemistry. Transparency (ingredient disclosure) in the building industry has been growing, pressuring manufacturers to disclose more about the composition of products than ever before. The public’s alarm about... Read more »
Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Antimicrobials A companion piece to P+W’s recently published Healthy Environments: Understanding Antimicrobial Ingredients in Building Materials. Think those doorknobs, countertops, or floor tiles treated with antimicrobial ingredients are going to keep germs at bay and protect your health? You may want to reconsider. A new white paper... Read more »
Antimicrobial building products marketed as "healthy" contain ingredients that may have adverse environmental or human health impacts, and alternative products should be considered whenever possible, according to a new white paper by Perkins+Will and the Healthy Building Network (HBN). The paper exposes the lack of scientific evidence supporting claims that so-called antimicrobial products help ward off communicable diseases. Perkins+Will is placing "Products Marketed as Antimicrobial" on its Precautionary List, urging designers to consider alternatives before specifying them.
Robin Guenther kicks of the Living Product Expo with a compelling talk about the building materials economy and the ease with which it is possible to ignore the cascading negative human and planetary health consequences.
As I learned of the health implications and realized my role in specifying these chemicals into projects I was trying to make healthier, I searched for ways to avoid using them.
There are tradeoffs to everything; there is no perfect material. Using fly ash as recycled content in concrete solves one problem (how to dispose of a hazardous industrial by-product), but is it perpetuating the justification of burning coal as a fuel source?