by Ryan Johnson and Rebecca StammThere is growing awareness that the buildings where we live and work can affect our health. Daylighting, acoustics, air flow, and the very materials we use all have the potential to impact the health and wellbeing of building occupants. When we think about chemical exposures in the built environment, our minds often go directly to indoor air quality. After all, we spend most of our time indoors, and many harmful chemicals tend to be present at higher levels in indoor air than in outdoor air. For this reason, solutions tend to focus on higher air exchange rates and more efficient filtration. While these are essential considerations to ensuring our buildings are healthier spaces, the most efficient way to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals is by eliminating them from our buildings altogether.
Figuring out what chemicals are typically present in building products is challenging. While there has been great progress in transparency through the publication of Health Product Declarations and Declare labels, most building products do not come with documentation that fully discloses all of the chemicals that they contain. Even when we can identify the chemicals used to make these products, making a safer selection can still be challenging.Continue reading on the eJournal