HOW TO EVALUATE PRODUCTS FOR HARMFUL CHEMICALS
The Healthy Building Network has a tool that allows you to calculate the amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds, or toxins that off-gas into the air) a product may generate based on how it is being applied. So, for example you could compare Product A with lower VOCs but which needs three coats versus Product B which contains a higher amount of harmful chemicals but only needs one coat. Visit compAIR.
You can use the Quartz Common Products Database to look at the health impacts of specific products. The site also uses a simple format to educate on the composition, health hazard and environmental impact for general categories of building products.
Health Product Declaration
The Health Product Declaration (HPD) increases transparency through a disclosure of product content and its associated health information for building products and materials. A compliant HPD references an extensive, but finite, group of authoritative chemical hazard lists for hazards screening. Every hazard that might be identified through an exhaustive review of all available scientific literature is not necessarily disclosed. As a transparent standard with a fixed format for disclosure, the HPD makes it clear what information is being shared and what information is not. HPDs are created and managed by manufacturers. They are typically found in a manufacturer’s technical data page(s) on their websites.
Declare’s labels are centered on the disclosure of ingredients, and assessment of those chemicals against the Living Building Challenge’s Red List. A “Declared” product Declared has disclosed at least 99 percent of their ingredients but contain Red List ingredients that do not qualify for an established exception. To be considered Living Building Challenge Compliant, at least 99 percent of ingredients are disclosed, but the Red List ingredients qualify for an established temporary exception. The highest declaration status is RLF, or Red List Free. Here 100 percent of a product’s contents are revealed and none are on the Red List. To find Declare products, visit the Declare website.
OTHER SITES FOR INFORMATION ON HEALTHY BUILDING PRODUCTS
Good Overview on Both Products and Process
Safer Chemicals and Product Transparency
- International Living Future Institute
- International WELL Building Institute
- U.S. Green Building Council