Forbo Flooring Systems
With a strong focus on innovation, Forbo Flooring inspires customers to create better interior environments. Forbo has been recognized as the leader in providing color and design options with our Marmoleum flooring. Naturally occurring anti-static properties make Marmoleum easy to clean, while naturally occurring antimicrobial properties stop the breeding of many micro-organisms such as allergen producing dust mites, and the MRSA strains of bacteria. These features, combined with simple, low cost maintena  ...  
Address: 8 Maplewood Drive Humboldt Industrial Park
City: Hazleton
State: PA
Zip: 18202
Country: United States
Phone: (570) 450-0328
Fax: (570) 450-0229
Website: http://www.forboflooringna.com
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EPD vs. HPD - toxic truths the building products industry doesn't want you to know.
Written by: Denis Darragh, General Manager, Forbo Flooring Systems North America
Article Today’s architects, designers, developers and building owners have more information about the safety of building products than ever before. Despite this wealth of data, the tragic fact is that they still aren’t receiving the whole truth about the environmental impact of the products they specify. This lack of knowledge is no accident. It is actively perpetuated by some within the building products industry who wish to create the appearance of openness and disclosure, while simultaneously working behind the scenes to keep the full facts out of view. The curtain is drawn tightest around issues of ecotoxicity (the harmful effects of a substance on ecosystems) and human toxicity (the potential of a substance to do harm to human life). A surprisingly large number of companies in the building products industry would rather ignore both measures of product safety. Most manufacturers provide very little information on the way their products affect people and the natural environment that surrounds them. Many trade organizations that represent them are similarly unwilling to touch on toxicity issues. It is quite likely that some manufacturers and trade associations are afraid of taking an honest look at the issue for fear of what they’d find, on the misguided belief that what you don’t know won’t hurt you. Right now, a team of construction industry experts are hard at work on a new standard tool that could open the door to a new era of refreshingly full disclosure. The work is focused on improving the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), a standardized tool used to communicate the environmental performance of a building product. An EPD is similar to a nutrition label on food products. In theory, the EPD should help designers and construction professionals make reliable judgments on the environmental impact of the products they specify. A building’s owner or occupant should be able to use EPD information to gain assurance that the interior spaces they manage or inhabit are healthy ones. Unfortunately, the real performance of the EPD falls short of the ideal. Some major manufacturers have used loopholes within this standard to cover up toxicity issues connected with their building products. The loopholes were created by manipulating the data requirements for Product Category Rules (PCR), the technical documents from which EPDs draw their information. Some industry insiders have created their own PCRs which remove measures of ecotoxicity and human toxicity, rendering the resulting EPDs toothless. They justify their efforts on the debatable claim that insufficient data exists to apply life cycle assessment to these impact categories. While the debate rages, products like PVC flooring go to market with a clean environmental bill of health...an image which falls far short of the truth. A group of leading architects, building managers and product manufacturers have responded to the information gap by creating the Health Product Declaration (HPD), a whole new standard for product hazard reporting that more responsibly reflects issues of human health and environmental toxicity. The new standard represents a major step forward in transparency. It incorporates the data from the EPD, combining it with trustworthy, verifiable measures of ingredients that impact ecotoxicity and human toxicity. It creates a disclosure document that truthfully indicates the toxicity impact of a product on the people who live with it, and the natural environment that it exists within. Best of all, the HPD uses an open-source approach to deciding which criteria are included. This places some of the decision-making power in the hands of architects, specifiers and others who don’t have a vested interest in the outcome. By using the open-source approach that has proved so successful in the computer software development industry, the HPD becomes a standard that no individual or group can unduly influence. Radical environmentalists cannot distort it, nor can industry insiders with a toxicity issue to disguise. No matter what role you play in the design, construction or real estate management industries, you have a role to play in improving the future of the built environment and the living things that share our world with it. By taking a few simple steps, you and other professionals like you can promote an environment of healthy transparency and create a more sustainable world for future generations. • Step 1: Insist upon full disclosure. If you specify building materials, demand the information found in both the EPD and the Health Product Declaration (HPD). Ask for full transparency. If your request isn’t met, ask why. If you are on the manufacturing side of the equation, advocate for greater transparency. Your career and your company’s future could someday depend on it. Owners or lessors of buildings can make transparency and product toxicity criteria in purchasing or leasing decisions. • Step 2: Ask yourself the tough questions. Before you make a decision on a building material, be willing to consider all the ways it could contribute to a healthy environment. Is it sourced from sustainable materials, and designed to minimize construction waste? Does it emit compounds that might impact human health? Are excessive amounts of energy or scarce raw materials used in its creation? Can it be safely removed and naturally recycled at the end of its working life? • Step 3: Be an advocate within your industry. By willingly speaking to others in your company about the need to pay attention to ecotoxicity and human toxicity, you can use your influence to spread the word. Be willing to network with your colleagues in other firms about the issues, and work to create an ongoing dialog. Ramp up your commitment by making your voice heard in industry forums. Get involved in trade or professional organizations to advance the goal of transparency.
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