Janna Hafer



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05/18/15 - It’s the middle of May and we have just recently ordered the windows and doors. Everything takes longer when we have to check all purchases against the “RED LIST” to make sure nothing was harmed in the making of the product and no toxic chemicals escaped into the atmosphere. The “RED LIST” contains the names of chemicals and materials to avoid if one is attempting to meet the Living Building Challenge. This is just one of the requirements of the challenge but this requirement not only intends for the building to be healthy for the occupants, but also hopes to encourage the manufacturers to consider any possible adverse effects to employees or the environment during the production process. Anya, the project manager for our house, is extremely diligent when it comes to vetting any and all potential building materials for the house and she has provided the following further explanation:

The most challenging aspect of tracking “RED LIST” compliance is simply getting manufacturers to disclose what is in their product, especially complex products assembled from many sub-components. Beyond the standard Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), many manufacturers are unaware of the chemical makeup of their product or sub-components, or they may use proprietary ingredients that they are unwilling to disclose. Our requests for additional information are often met with hesitation; understandably, as it requires additional work and can become fairly complex. The Living Building Challenge offers a few allowable tolerances and temporary exceptions, and recognizes advocacy as a tool to shift the market, but all of these avenues take time, diligence, and patience. The good news is that the combined effort of everyone committed to the Living Building Challenge is beginning to shift the market, as evidenced by the leading manufacturers who are already doing their part in providing total ingredient transparency and eliminating “RED LIST” chemicals. Many of these manufacturers can be found on the Declare product database. Here

Below is additional information from the Declare website:

“The Red List represents the “worst in class” materials, chemicals, and elements known to pose serious risks to human health and the greater ecosystem.” Source

Red List Summary (these 14 common names represents over 800 specific chemical compounds):

• Asbestos
• Cadmium
• Chlorinated Polyethylene and Chorosulfonated Polyethlene
• Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
• Chloroprene (Neoprene)
• Formaldehyde (added)
• Halogenated Flame Retardants
• Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
• Lead (added)
• Mercury
• Petrochemical Fertilizers and Pesticides
• Phthalates
• Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
• Wood treatments containing Creosote, Arsenic or Pentachlorophenol
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