New Study Says LEED Homes Don't Protect Against Toxic Indoor Environments

New Study Says LEED Homes Don't Protect Against Toxic Indoor Environments

Cambria Bold
Jun 7, 2010

"Although the primary stated purposes of the Green Building Council are to promote both energy efficiency and human health, even the Council's most prestigious Platinum award does little to ensure that hazardous chemicals are kept out of the certified buildings."
John Wargo, Ph.D, lead author

A new study released last week by the Connecticut-based health-research nonprofit Environment and Human Health, Inc. says that the current LEED system provides a false sense of security regarding the health and safety of its certified homes. The study claims that the current points system doesn't concern itself with a number of what the EPA terms "chemicals of concern" released from building materials, cleaning supplies, fuel combustion, pesticides and other hazardous substances.

Specifically, some of these chemicals include phthalates (used in floor and wall coverings), short-chain chlorinated paraffins (used in flame retardants), and perfluorinated chemicals (used in carpets and upholstery).

This report comes on the heels of recent complaints regarding the USGBC's lax accountability system. But perhaps this shouldn't be so surprising, since LEED certification has always been primarily concerned with energy efficiency. However, it's definitely alarming when the current standard for "green" homes doesn't take into account the potentially dangerous aftereffects of the products and materials it promotes and rewards, especially considering rising public awareness of the dangers of commonly used household chemicals. Read more about the study here.

Read the study: LEED Certification: Where Energy Efficiency Collides with Human Health

(Image: LEED Platinum-certified Margarido House from Modecodesign)

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