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Making Buildings Healthier From The Inside Out


What chemicals wind up in building materials?   And do they impact your health?   

Those are questions Jeffrey Saad has been asking.   He's deciphering the "recipes" that are used in construction.  The Chicago based architect with Perkins+Will says of the more than 82,000 chemicals registered in the U.S., only about 200 have been analyzed for their potential threats.  And only 5 are banned.

"We're pretty slow to act," Saad points out.  "Lead has been known since the Greeks 200 B.C. that it leads to 'make the mind give away.' In 1977, we said we are going to ban lead paint.  But today, in 2014, it's still used in roofing, radiation, shielding, soldering and electrical cable.  So it takes a while for everything to get vetted."

Saad is putting together a "transparency list" of materials in an effort that could result in healthier materials for construction purposes.

Saad spoke at the recent Green Symposium in Springfield.  He says the unknown is the biggest concern.  

"A young woman was looking at the ingredients in Gatorade and found there was a flame retardant (included)," he said.  A petition drive led to a change.

"Things are happening with nutrition labels on food.  Why can't that happen with building materials?"

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