Last week at Greenbuild 2009, Perkins + Will unveiled its new Precautionary List, which tracks 25 of the most common dangerous chemicals found in commonly used building materials. The list provides an explanation of the properties of the chemicals with suggested alternatives. Some of the chemicals on the list include: arsenic, lead, urea formaldehyde, and cadmium, just to name a few.
Over time, the Precautionary List will evolve and provide more information and alternatives.
Right now, using the Precautionary List website, you can navigate based upon the health effects (for example, carcinogen or kidney toxicant) or the building material use (for example, finishes or furnishings), as well as through a few other search methods.
Speaking about the need to know more about the chemicals used in building materials, P+W’s Robin Gunther said at a panel last week, “amazingly, it’s hard to fathom that as architects we don’t always know what (chemicals) are in the building materials we use. It’s time for this to change; time to bring a standard for care to building design and construction by starting with the elimination of toxic chemicals in building materials.”