Perkins+Will has launched a newly updated website tool aimed at increasing awareness of hazardous building materials and encouraging designers to select healthier products for their projects.
The firm first established their Precautionary List of hazardous materials in 2008, with a full Transparency website coming in 2011. The new website features improved versions of both tools. Rather than a static list, materials are now organized within a searchable database that can be quickly organized using filters such as project type, product type, and health and environmental impacts.
New information has also been added to each entry, labelled under clear subheading describing the typical material usage, its health and environmental hazards, ways in which people can be exposed, as well as governmental regulations and industry rating system. In addition, two new lists have been added: the “Watch List,” which includes substances suspected of being harmful, but about which abundant scientific research has yet to be conducted; and the “Sunset List,” which includes materials formerly on the Precautionary List that have been phased out of common usage.
“Our goal is to spur further industry transformation so that, one day, we can have peace of mind that all materials used to build and furnish our homes, workplaces, schools, hospitals, and other places are healthy and safe,” said Mary Dickinson, senior associate at Perkins+Will and co-chair of the firm’s Material Performance Research Lab. “With our updated Precautionary List and Transparency website, we’re helping fellow designers take note of new, emerging, and known health hazards so that they can make more informed product decisions.”
When you consider the practical properties of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - durability, versatility and low price - it is easy to understand how it has become such a common construction material, with applications as roofing membranes, siding, pipes and plumbing, conduit, window frames, window blinds, molding and trim, and fencing.