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Wednesday, 18 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Applications, Decorative coatings

A strategy to prevent asthma through building product selection

Friday, 3 January 2014

In a report the Healthy Building Network (HBN) warns that new preventive strategies are needed to address rising asthma rates in the United States at its source.

Reducing asthma-sources of indoor chemicals like in paints

Source: Andre Künzelmann/UFZ

Reducing asthma-sources of indoor chemicals like in paints

Source: Andre Künzelmann/UFZ

This includes avoiding the many building materials introducing asthma-causing chemicals into indoor environment. The materials include flooring, carpets, insulation and paints with chemicals that can cause the development of asthma.

20 top-priority asthmagens in nine chemical groups were identified

This information has been released in the new HBNreport, Full Disclosure Required: A Strategy to Prevent Asthma Through Building Product Selection, which reveals that many building materials can cause the development of asthma. HBN says that building occupants can be exposed to 20 asthmagens commonly found in these products. They were identified in nine chemical groups as acid anhydrides (two types), acrylates (four types), ammonium hydroxide, Bisphenol A Diglycidyl Ether (BADGE), ethanolamines (three types), formaldehyde, isocyanates (six types), polyfunctional aziridine and styrene.

Database helps building owners to identify hazardous chemicals

Asthma rates in the United States have been rising since at least 1980. Today, nearly 26 million people are affected by chronic asthma, including over eight million children, the report says. HBN has created a database called the Pharos Project that helps building owners and consumers identify hazardous chemicals in building materials, and healthier alternatives. Their research began by investigating asthmagen chemicals identified through occupational health research. The organisation identified 38 asthmagens chemicals used in building materials listed in Pharos. The scientists identified 12 additional chemicals by examining emerging evidence for further research and prioritization.

Manufacturers should work with green chemistry experts

The report recommends increasing research to understand how building material chemicals may fuel the rising asthma epidemic and to create safer alternatives to asthmagens. It also suggests that manufacturers work with green chemistry experts to identify and develop suitable alternatives to asthmagens in building products. Finally, indoor air quality certifications and building rating systems should incorporate protocols and modifications to address asthma.

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