Human Exposure Points inThe Lifecycle of MaterialsBuilding materials have indirect health impacts. Extractor People in the extraction andContaminants released in extraction, manufacturing, synthesis industries, and inconstruction and demolition contribute to health surrounding communities, are at risk of exposure toand environmental concerns. Substances of substances of concern via inhalation, ingestionconcern can leach from products in landfills of contaminated drinkingand enter the environment and food chain via water, and dermal contact.ground water. People in many contexts are Manufacturer People in the manufacturingexposed at every step of the process. industries and in surrounding communities are at risk of exposure to substances of concern via inhalation, ingestion Extractor of contaminated drinking water, and dermal contact. Contractor Building materials containing substances of concern are transported around the world. Demolition People in the construction Contractor Manufacturer industry are exposed to substances of concern via inhalation and dermal contact. Occupant People in buildings are exposed to substances of concern via off-gassing and leaching into drinking water. Demolition Contractor People in the demolition industry are exposed to substances of concern via inhalation and dermal contact. Occupant Contractor
Cadmium Exposure – ia ingestion of food V contaminated by phosphate fertilizers or sewage sludge applied to farm fields.Cadmium is an elemental metal, commonly – ia inhalation of cadmium Vused in electronics as a corrosion in the air from burning fossil fuels such as coal or oil.resistant coating for metal fittings, andas a pigment for paints and plastics. Health ImpactsPigments from cadmium and cadmium – rritation of the lungs Icompounds provide brilliant and long- (short-term effect). – idney disease caused by Klasting yellows, oranges and reds. cadmium build-up in the kidneys (long-term inhalationLife-in-Action Items or oral exposure).– Request Health Product Declarations (HPD) from – ssociated with lung cancer. A product vendors and manufacturers. EPA has classified cadmium as An HPD is a listing of product ingredients a probable human carcinogen. and associated health concerns. – evelopmental and D reproductive toxicity.– Specify stainless steel or galvanized finishes in lieu of cadmium coatings for fittings and other hardware materials.– Specify controls and electrical/electronic materials and equipment which are compliant with the European Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS). The RoHS restricts the use of six hazardous materials, including cadmium, in the manufacture of electronic and electrical equipment. California law has adopted much of the RoHS content; other US states and Canadian provinces will likely follow in time.– Set tight goals for electricity use. Cadmium is released when coal is burned, so each kilowatt hour saved represents an avoidance of cadmium released into the environment.
Mercury Exposure – nhalation of mercury vapors I occur when mercury is spilled or products that contain mercury break andMercury is an elemental neurotoxin expose mercury to the air.commonly found in fluorescent lighting, – onsumption of contaminated C fish is a common cause ofnon-digital switches and HVAC controls. mercury poisoning. Fish are contaminated by mercuryLife-in-Action Items released into the environment by the burning of coal for– Select low-mercury fluorescent lamps and mercury- electricity. The U.S. EPA has free lighting options and HVAC controls. published consumption limits Low-mercury fluorescent lamp options and mercury-free and advises women of child- controls are readily available, often at no additional cost. rearing age and children younger than 15 to avoid certain species.– Support our clients’ mercury reduction efforts. During planning discuss the client’s recycling program and mercury clean-up and disposal procedures. Though mercury- Health Impacts containing medical devices are common in older healthcare facilities, many hospitals have implemented mercury reduction Adults, children, and developing programs as safer options have become available. fetuses are at risk from exposure. Associated human– Set tight goals for electricity use. health risks include: Mercury is released when coal is burned, so each kilowatt hour saved – mpairment of neurological I represents an avoidance of mercury released into the environment. and reproductive systems – levated risk of birth defects E – isruption of growth D and development. courtesy of liberalmind1012
Phthalates Exposure Due to widespread use and release, and the global transport of plastics, phthalates are found in air, water, soil, and organismsPhthalates are plasticizers, chemicals which nearly everywhere in the world.are added to PVC and other plastics to – ndustrial workers may be I exposed to phthalates bymake them soft, flexible, and durable inhalation and, more prevalently, absorbed though dermal contact.In our business, some relevant products include: – he highest exposures are from T– inyl flooring and base V contact with consumer products.– arpet backing C – xposure can be prenatal, via E– inyl upholstery and wall covering V mother’s ingestion of phthalates. Young children (always putting– ire and cable jacketing W plastic things in their mouths)– heet roofing S are most vulnerable.Beyond buildings, phthalates are widely used in consumerproducts such as toys, personal care products, fragrances, and Health Impactsplastic dishes. The European Union has banned 6 highly suspectphthalates from toys and food packaging, and the US has started – ny anatomic system Ato regulate certain phthalates in children’s toys and personal care influenced by hormones canproducts. Use of phthalates in building materials is essentially non- be detrimentally affectedrestricted, and very little information on alternatives is available. by endocrine disruptors, such as phthalates. MostLife-in-Action Items sensitive is the immature male reproductive system.– Request Health Product Declarations (HPD) from – ay increase risk of M product vendors and manufacturers. developing Type 2 diabetes. An HPD is a listing of product ingredients – hthalates released in the P and associated health concerns. month of October can lead– Support our clients’ PVC reduction efforts. to a rising of the undead. As hospitals embark on eliminating PVC from medical devices and supplies (especially in the NICU), propose ways that your project can compliment their efforts.– Avoid plastics where reasonable alternatives exist. Prefer non-plastic based wall coverings, upholstery and flooring options. courtesy of Walmart Stores courtesy of SupremeCrete
Dioxins Exposure Dioxins are released into the air, and settle on soil and in water. Nearly every living creature has been exposed to dioxins.Dioxins are a group of toxic bioaccumulative – he most common Tchemical compounds. They are present exposure path is through food – crops absorb dioxinsaround the world and do not readily degrade. which settle on the soil.Though dioxins are naturally occurring at relatively low levels, – ioxins which settle in water are Dthe vast majority of dioxins are released by certain industrial ingested by micro-organismsactivities. Most relevant to our industry is PVC production. and work their way up the food chain. Dioxins accumulate inIn building materials, PVC is a common component of resilient the body fat of fish, animals,flooring, carpet backing, piping, waterproofing, door and window and ultimately, people.frames, wire cable sheathing, wall covering and much more. – hough dioxins spread great T distances, exposure riskLife-in-Action Items through inhalation is especially– Ask product reps about PVC-free options. high in and near communities Many manufacturers offer PVC-free alternatives to where dioxins are released. exterior components, interior finishes, piping, conduit, and electrical cable and wire jacketing. Health Impacts – ervous system impairment N – mmunologic impairments I – ormonal alterations H – ancer C courtesy of SupremeCrete
Lead I Exposure – ngestion of lead which has leached into drinking water. – opper alloy plumbing C components leach lead intoLead is a bioaccumulative heavy metal drinking water over time,found in a variety of consumer and building especially when corrosion occurs. Lead is also a commonproducts because it provides flexibility component of solder and flux.and machineability to the material. – ngestion of lead-containing dust I particulates is still a risk in pre-Lead is a common ingredient in copper 1978 buildings, especially toalloys, such as brass and bronze. children. Lead as an additive in most paints has been banned forLife-in-Action Items many years, but exposure to lead dust remains a risk where older– Specify lead-free piping, fittings and fixtures where buildings are being renovated. metal piping will be used to deliver water intended for human consumption. Health Impacts New low-lead national requirements per the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act will go into effect in January 2014. Many faucet Lead is a neurotoxin which can manufacturers offer products now which meet these standards. damage the developing brain and nervous system, lowering IQ and– Specify lead-free solder and flux. increasing hyperactivity. While– Specify electrical wire and cable which are adults are susceptible to lead poisoning, children are most at risk. compliant with the European Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS). The RoHS restricts the use of six hazardous materials, including lead, in the manufacture of electronic and electrical equipment. courtesy of Shandchem