Incompatible trends - Hazardous Chemical Usage in Building Products Poses Challenges for Functional Circular Construction
Abstract: Based on a review of 2012 and 2016 data in the Nordic chemical database, SPIN, this paper is an assessment of the usage of REACH’s Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) and Denmark’s List over Undesirable Substances (LOUS) chemicals in the building industry in Denmark. The paper is a status update of the 2016 Danish Environmental Agency’s report of the usage of hazardous substances in sustainable buildings, based on 2012 data from SPIN. The analysis focuses on change in tonnage of usage of chemicals found in twelve different construction product categories in SPIN, crosschecked with substances from the SVHC and the LOUS lists. The usage of some hazardous substances in certain usage categories has reduced from 2012 to 2016.
There is an overall trend indicating an increase of undesirable chemical in construction articles and preparations, which poses serious challenges for a functioning circular built environment. Findings indicate which construction categories and which chemicals are of particular concern for the current construction market in Denmark. The results underscore the essential need for transparency in building product content, in order for design professionals and contractors to make decisions that support the future use of the material or building element.
Guidance from the Green Science Policy Institute on specifying healthier insulation, including research on flame retardants.
Healthy Building Network Guidance - Cabinetry and Millwork
Guidance from the Healthy Building Network on selecting safer products for interior furniture and fittings. The guidance looks at wood and composite materials, including glues and resins contained with these products.
Healthy Building Network Guidance - Roofing
Guidance from the Healthy Building Network on selecting a safer roofing product.
Built Environment Journal: Why we must limit use of construction plastics
Plastics are used in a vast range of building components, such as seals, windows and doors, roofing, internal and external finishes, paints, panels, varnishes, stains, pipes, guttering, cables, floor coverings, membranes, formwork, supporting structures, building skins and insulation. However, their benefits come at a growing cost to the environment and public health.
The construction industry consumes 20% of all plastics and 70% of all polyvinyl chloride (PVC) produced globally each year. Exponentially greater amounts are being produced and used, with 8.3bn tonnes of virgin plastics produced worldwide between 1950 and 2017 and global output predicted to double by 2050.
The transition to sustainable construction will involve fundamental changes in the way buildings are designed, manufactured, built and operated. As society pushes up against established planetary boundaries, professionals working in the built environment need to identify how to change our practice.
Deep Dive into Plastic Monomers, Additives, and Processing Aids
A variety of chemical substances used in plastic production may be released throughout the entire life cycle of the plastic, posing risks to human health, the environment, and recycling systems. Only a limited number of these substances have been widely studied.
This article from Helene Wiesinger, Zhanyun Wang and Stefanie Hellweg systematically investigates plastic monomers, additives, and processing aids on the global market based on a review of 63 industrial, scientific, and regulatory data sources. In total, it identifies more than 10,000 relevant substances and categorizes them based on substance types, use patterns, and hazard classifications wherever possible.
Eliminating Toxics in Carpet: Lessons for the Future of Recycling
Healthy Building Network's report on post-consumer carpet feedstocks calls for eliminating over 40 highly toxic chemicals in carpets that threaten public health and impede recycling. These toxics are known to cause respiratory disease, heart attacks, cancer, and asthma, and impair children's developmental health. The report outlines strategies to protect public health and the environment by improving product transparency, eliminating dangerous chemicals from carpets, and increasing carpet recycling rates. It also reveals surprising efforts in the industry to remove many of these toxic substances from carpet design.
Plastics in Construction - Introductory Q&A guide
In recent years, awareness of the negative impacts of plastic waste and pollution on our environment has heightened. The construction sector’s use of plastic continues to grow and there is a lack of clarity on how construction plastics at the end of life are managed. There is still much to learn about plastics in construction, such as the volumes of plastic used, types of polymers, their applications and lifespans.
This interactive PDF guide has been developed by the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products and peer-reviewed by the ASBP Plastics in Construction Group.