Chemicals and Toxins in Building Materials

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Acetylene (Ethyne) see Styrol

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Steel
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Steel

Description:
A colourless, highly flammable or explosive gas, C2H2, used for metal welding and cutting and as an illuminant. Also called ethyne.

Main component use:
Acetylene can explode with extreme violence if the pressure of the gas exceeds about 100 kPa as a gas or when in liquid or solid form, so it is shipped and stored dissolved in acetone or DFM. There are strict regulations on the shipment of dangerous gas cylinders throughout the world. Acetylene was used in the acetylene ('carbide') lamp, once used by miners by dripping water from the upper chamber of the lamp onto calcium carbide (CaC2) pellets in the base of the lamp. In modern times acetylene is used for carburization (that is, hardening) of steel. Research in the last ten years has concluded that acetylene is the best hydrocarbon available for this purpose. Approximately 80 percent of the acetylene produced annually in the United States is used in chemical synthesis. The remaining 20 percent is used primarily for oxyacetylene gas welding and cutting. Combustion with oxygen produces a flame of over 3300?C, releasing 11,800 J/g.

Health concerns and other detail:
Inhaling acetylene may cause dizziness, headache and nausea. It may also contain toxic impurities: the Compressed Gas Association Commodity Specification for acetylene has established a grading system for identifying and quantifying phosphine, arsine, and hydrogen sulfide content in commercial grades of acetylene in order to limit exposure to these impurities.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Acetone (Propanone, dimethyl ketone)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Thinners & Solvents
Glues/ Adhesives : Cellulose Glues

Description:
A liquid, acetone is often the primary (or only) component in nail polish remover.

Main component use:
Used industrially with phenol in the manufacture of bisphenol A. Bisphenol A is an important component of many polymers such as polycarbonates, polyurethanes and epoxy resins.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a Volitile Organic Compound (VOC). Acetone is not a very toxic compound. It can, however, damage the mucosa of the mouth and can irritate and damage skin. Small amounts of acetone are metabolically produced in the body, mainly from fat and acetone levels can be elevated in diabetes sufferers. Exposure to exogenous acetone can be chronic due to acetone contamination of water, food (e.g. milk), or the air (acetone is volatile). Accidental intake of large amounts of acetone may lead to unconsciousness and death. The effects of long-term exposure to acetone include kidney, liver, and nerve damage, increased birth defects, and lowered reproduction ability of males (only) occurred in animals exposed long-term.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Acrylic - Glass (Polymethylmethacrylate, PMMA, polymethyl 2-methylpropenoate, Plexiglas, Perspex, Acrylite, Acrylplast, Lucite)

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Replacement for glass
Fixtures and furnishings: Replacement for glass, one piece shower units

Description:
PMMA is a vinyl polymer, made by free radical vinyl polymerization from the monomer methyl methacrylate.

Main component use:
The material is often used as an alternative to glass. PMMA is lighter: its density (1190 kg/m3) is about half that of glass. Unlike glass, PMMA does not filter UV (ultraviolet) light. PMMA transmits UV light, at best intensity, down to 300 nm. Some manufacturers coat their PMMA with UV films to add this property. To produce 1 kg of PMMA, about 2 kg of petroleum is needed. In the presence of air, PMMA ignites at 460? C and burns completely to form only carbon dioxide and water. The chemical company Rohm and Haas makes windows out of it and calls it Plexiglas. Ineos Acrylics also make it and call it Lucite. Lucite is used to make the surfaces of hot tubs, sinks, and the one piece bathtub and shower units, among other things.Popluar uses include: Lenses, light covers, glazing (particularly in aircraft), light pipes, meter covers, bathroom fittings, outdoor signs, skylights, baths, toys. PMMA is also found in paint.

Health concerns and other detail:
A toxicology extract from the Material Safety Data Sheet, states that independent testing and many years of experience confirm that this material has very low toxicity. The International Agency for Research on Cancer does not list this material as a confirmed or suspected carcinogen. Acrylic plastic is not easily recycled. It is considered a 'Group 7' plastic among recycled plastics and is not collected for recycling in most communities. Large pieces can be reformed into other useful objects if they have not suffered too much stress, crazing, or cracking, but this accounts for only a very small portion of the acrylic plastic waste. In a landfill, acrylic plastics, like many other plastics, are not readily biodegradable. Some acrylic plastics are highly flammable and must be protected from sources of combustion. If PMMA decomposes due to fire or acids, its fumes are deadly if inhaled. It will release carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and the acrylic monomers can cause irritation of skin, eyes, nose, throat, lungs, dizziness, headache and nausea.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » The A-Z of materials website. http://www.azom.com and...
    » The polymer science learning centre. http://www.pslc.ws/

Acrylics - Paint (PMMA, Acrylic Copolymer, Acrylic resin)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: All Acrylic paints
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : All Acrylic resins

Description:
Acrylic paint is fast-drying paint containing pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. PMMA doesn't dissolve in water, so dispersing PMMA in water requires the use of another polymer to make water and PMMA compatible with each other. Acrylic polymers/copolymers are made up of PMMA and additives such as ethyls, acetates, toulene and xylene. Pigments can be added to colour the paints

Main component use:
Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry. Acrylic Coploymer contains a low percentage (2%) of diethylamino ethyl methacrylate. This type of monomer is typically used to promote adhesion and will be found in the majority of currently used coating formulations. The Acrylic Copolymer has < 50% concentration and is imported into Australia as a part of a multi-component liquid mixture containing xylene at 1-5% acetone, 2-butoxyethyl acetate 1-5%, ethyl acetate 1-5%, 1-methoxy-2-propyl acetate 1-5%, 1-methoxy-2-propyl acetate 30-60%, methyl ethyl ketone 1-5%, dibasic esters 1-5%, toluene 1-5%, xylene 1-5% and aromatic hydrocarbons 1-5%. Many of these chemicals are very toxic especially when sprayed.

Health concerns and other detail:
Based on the nature of the chemical and the data provided, Acrylic resin, is not considered to be hazardous. Due to the fact that the Acrylic Copolymer has negligible water solubility, it is not expected that the presence of this low level of potentially cationic monomer is likely to constitute a significant environmental risk. Due to its high NAMW (number-average molecule weight) the polymer is not expected to cross biological membranes. Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product, carries exposure standards for number of ingredients: acetone, 2-butoxyethyl acetate, ethyl acetate, 1-methoxy-2-propyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone and toluene, which are toxic through skin, eye and inhalation routes. Therefore, eye and skin contact, as well as inhalation of the product should be avoided.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » The polymer science learning centre. http://www.pslc.ws/
    » Australian Government Dept. of Health and Aging: NICNAS a...

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) see Acrylonitrile, Benzene, Butadiene and Styrene

Found in the following building materials:
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Plastic conduits and piping
Fixtures and furnishings: Plastics

Description:
A copolymer made by polymerizing styrene and acrylonitrile in the presence of polybutadiene. Acrylonitrile are synthetic monomers produced from propylene and ammonia. Butadiene is a petroleum hydrocarbon obtained from butane. Styrene monomers are derived from coal and commercially obtained from benzene and ethylene from coal.

Main component use:
A common thermoplastic. ABS is stronger than pure polystyrene although it is being replaced by Polypropylene. See Polypropylene listed elsewhere in this database.

Health concerns and other detail:
No known specific concerns other than those described in this database for Acrylonitrile, Butadiene and Styrene which are listed separately in this database.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Acrylonitrile (cyanoethylene, cyanoethene, vinyl cyanide, 2-propenenitrile) see Nitrile Rubber

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Fumigant
Timbers: Fumigant
Floors and Floor Coverings: Synthetic Rubbers
Fixtures and furnishings: Acrylic fibres, Nylon and Synthetic rubbers.
Soft Furnishings: Acrylic fibres, Nylon and Synthetic rubbers.

Description:
Pungent smelling, extremely flammable organic liquid.

Main component use:
Acrylonitrile is used principally as a precursor monomer in the manufacture of synthetic polymers, especially polyacrylonitrile, acrylic fibres, nylon, and synthetic rubber. Most industrial acrylonitrile is produced through the Sohio process, the catalytic ammoxidation of propylene (see polypropylene).

Health concerns and other detail:
The material is toxic. Contact with skin or the eyes produces severe irritation. Inhalation or prolonged skin contact can produce confusion, unconsciousness, and death. The burning material releases fumes of hydrogen cyanide and oxides of nitrogen. Acrylonitrile is classified as a possible human carcinogen (IARC group 2B).

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Aniline (Phenylamine, Aminobenzene

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Paint thinners
Fixtures and furnishings: Rubber
Soft Furnishings: Rubber

Description:
Aniline is oily and, although colourless, it can be slowly oxidized and resinified in air to form impurities which can give it a red-brown tint.

Main component use:
An organic chemical compound which is a primary aromatic amine consisting of a benzene ring and an amino group. They are of great importance in the colour industry. Currently the largest market for aniline is preparation of methylene diphenyl di-isocyanate (MDI) and Rigid Polyurethane (see Isocyanate and u-PVC elsewhere in this database). It is a starting-product for the manufacture of many drugs such as Acetaminophen/Paracetamol (Tylenol).

Health concerns and other detail:
It is toxic by inhalation of the vapour, absorption through the skin or swallowing. It causes headache, drowsiness, cyanosis, mental confusion and in severe cases can cause convulsions. Prolonged exposure to the vapour or slight skin exposure over a period of time affects the nervous system and the blood, causing tiredness, loss of appetite, headache and dizziness. Some authorities class aniline as a carcinogen although the?IARC lists it in?Group 3?(not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans) due to the limited and contradictory data available.?

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Antimony Trioxide see Polyethylene Terephthalate

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Pigments and Fire protection coatings.
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Fillers
Floors and Floor Coverings: Vinyl floor tiles, sheeting, adhesives and ceiling tiles
Insulation, membranes: Flame retardant in reinforced plastics.
Fixtures and furnishings: Opacifying agent in glass, ceramics and enamels
Soft Furnishings: Flame retardant in textiles

Description:
Antimony trioxide is the most important commercial compound of Antimony. Antimony is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Sb (L. Stibium) and atomic number 51. A metalloid, antimony has four allotropic forms.

Main component use:
Opacifying agent in glass, ceramics and enamels, Flame retardant in textiles. Antimony trioxide (Sb2O3) is a catalyst that is often used in the production of PET (see Polyethylene terephthalate elsewhere in this database commonly used as containers for food and drink.

Health concerns and other detail:
It remains in the material and can migrate out into food and drinks. Antimony trioxide is only weakly absorbed by the digestive system, and the main route of absorption is by inhalation of the dust. The elimination of antimony from the body is slow, leading to a risk of chronic toxicity. Acute poisoning is rare, and the signs are fairly non-characteristic (vomiting, abdominal pain, irritation of the mucous membranes, diarrhea, cardiac irregularities). Chronic poisoning by antimony trioxide is sometimes found in exposed workers. The main signs are irritation of the respiratory tract and of the skin and a characteristic pneumoconosis which is visible on chest X-rays. Antimony trioxide is known to pass into breast milk and to transverse the placenta. Exposed female workers have a higher incidence than usual of menstrual problems and of late-term miscarriages; their children develop slower than usual during the first twelve months of life.The World Health Organisation (WHO) is currently conducting studies.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....
    » Baggs,Joan.'The Healthy House', 1996, Sydney Harper...

Arsenic

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Some green paint tints
Timbers: Preservative and Insecticide

Description:
When heated it rapidly oxidizes to produce arsenic trioxide, which has a garlic odour. Arsenic and some arsenic compounds can also sublimate upon heating, converting directly to a gaseous form. Elemental arsenic is found in two solid forms: yellow and grey/metallic.

Main component use:
Wood which has been treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA or Tanalith) are the vast majority of older "pressure treated" woods. CCA treated timber is still in widespread use as a structural, and outdoor building material, where there is a risk of rot, or insect infestation. Gallium arsenide is an important semiconductor material, used in integrated circuits. Circuits made using the compound are much faster (but also much more expensive) than those made in silicon. Unlike silicon it is direct band gap, and so can be used in laser diodes and LEDs to directly convert electricity into light.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a notoriously poisonous metalloid. Arsenic kills by allosteric inhibition of the metabolic enzyme lipothiamide pyrophosphatase (which is an important enzyme of metabolism), leading to death from multi-system organ failure. A post mortem reveals brick red colored mucosa, due to severe haemorrhage. Elemental arsenic and arsenic compounds are classified as toxic and dangerous for the environment in the European Union under directive 67/548/EEC. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recognizes arsenic and arsenic compounds as group 1 carcinogens, and the European Union (EU) lists arsenic trioxide, arsenic pentoxide and arsenate salts as category 1 carcinogens.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Asbestos

Found in the following building materials:
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Putty, caulk
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Wall sheeting, roofing tars, roofing felts, roofing shingles, plasters, stucco's, "transite" panels, siding, acoustical ceilings, asbestos cement sheets, Low density insulation board and ceiling tiles
Insulation, membranes: Thermal and chemical insulation
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Pipes for construction, casing for water
Fixtures and furnishings: Counter tops, Fire rated doors
Soft Furnishings: Fire blankets

Description:
Asbestos occurs naturally in many forms (see below,0 ,'); it is mined from metamorphic rocks. Blue asbestos - Riebeckite, CAS No. 12001-28-4, also known under the variety name of Crocidolite, is an amphibole from Africa and Australia. It is the fibrous form of the amphibole riebeckite. Blue asbestos is commonly thought of as the most dangerous type of asbestos.

Main component use:
When asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibres are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats. Asbestos is used for its electrical insulation at elevated temperatures, and in buildings for its flame-retardant and insulating properties, tensile strength, flexibility, and resistance to chemicals. Any small impact or damage to a typical asbestos containing product can easily release billions to trillions of fibres of asbestos into the immediate environment. Asbestos shingles, siding and roofing materials are eroded through drying, weathering, embrittlement, acid rain leaching and other deteriorative changes to their binder matrix resulting in release of those asbestos fibres ("chalk dust") when simple contact is made with their surface or when the wind blows across them. Most uses of asbestos are banned in many countries. Fibreglass may be a suitable substitute for thermal insulation, and woven ceramic fibre performs as well as or better than asbestos as an insulator of high-temperature electrical conductors.

Health concerns and other detail:
The fine asbestos fibres are easily inhaled, and can cause a number of respiratory complaints, including a potentially serious lung fibrosis called asbestosis. Exposure to asbestos has also been determined to cause a very serious form of cancer, mesothelioma, that occurs in the chest and abdominal cavities. When inhaled, asbestos is carcinogenic (i.e. promotes cancer). In the United States alone, it is estimated that ten thousand people die each year of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer. Asbestos has a synergistic effect with tobacco smoking in the causation of lung cancer. Other conditions include Asbestos warts, caused when the sharp fibres lodge in the skin and are overgrown causing benign callus-like growths.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Baggs,Joan.'The Healthy House', 1996, Sydney Harper...

Benzene (Benzol) see ABS, Aniline, Phenol, Styrene, Toluene and Xylene

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Thinners & Solvents
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Varnishes and lacquers
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: General performance sealants (PVAC, butyl, vinyl, etc.)
Glues/ Adhesives : Solvents for rubber adhesives
Floors and Floor Coverings: Carpet backing
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Plastic conduits and piping
Fixtures and furnishings: Waxes, plastics
Soft Furnishings: Dyes and textiles, Artificial leather, Nylon

Description:
Organic chemical compound that is a colourless and flammable liquid with a pleasant, sweet smell. Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon. It is an important industrial solvent and precursor in the production of drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber, and dyes. Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil, but it is usually synthesized from other compounds present in petroleum.

Main component use:
Benzene may result whenever carbon-rich materials undergo incomplete combustion. It is produced naturally in volcanoes and forest fires, and is also a component of cigarette smoke. By far the largest use of benzene is as an intermediate to make other chemicals by replacing one or more of the hydrogen atoms with another functional group.. The most widely-produced derivatives of benzene are styrene, which is used to make polymers and plastics, phenol for resins and adhesives (via cumene), and cyclohexane, which is used in Nylon manufacture. Benzene is used to make some types of solvents, rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, explosives and pesticides. Examples of other simple benzene derivatives are phenol, toluene and aniline. Examples of fused aromatic hydrocarbons are naphthalene and anthracene. In heterocycles, carbon atoms in the benzene ring are replaced with another element such as pyrazine, pyridazine, pyridine and pyrimidin. Benzene is found in coal tar distillates, petroleum naphtha and gasoline. Mineral turps can contain up to 20% benzene in Australia.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC and is ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to the ecosystems and human health. It is aromatic, readily absorbed through the skin and eliminated very slowly. Low-level chronic exposure (e.g. by painters) can lead to liver damage and possibly cancer (Thurtell L. Ed 2003). The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) classifies benzene as a human carcinogen A2 (1) IARC Classification: Group 1. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause leukemia, a potentially fatal cancer of the blood-forming organs. In particular, Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) may be caused by benzene. In March 2006, the official Food Standards Agency in Britain conducted a survey of 150 brands of soft drinks. It found that four contained benzene levels above World Health Organization limits. The affected batches were removed from sale. It is also used in the manufacture of medicinal chemicals. In laboratory research, toluene (see Toulene listed elsewhere in this database) is now often substituted for benzene because of health concerns.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » The National Toxics Network (NTN) is a community based...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Benzofuran

Found in the following building materials:
Floors and Floor Coverings: Manufacture of floor tiles

Description:
Benzofuran is produced by isolation from coal-tar oils.

Main component use:
Benzofuran is used in the manufacture of coumarone-indene resins, which harden when heated and are used to make floor tiles and other products.

Health concerns and other detail:
Results of a NTP (National Toxicology Programme; US Department of Health and Human Services) study (TR 370, 1989) reported clear evidence of carcinogenicity in male and female mice and some evidence of carcinogenicity in female rats.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » National Toxicology Programme; US Department of Health...

Bisphenol-A (BPA) see Phenols, Acteone, PVC, Epoxy Resins

Found in the following building materials:
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Epoxy Resins
Conduits, piping, plumbing: In hardened plastic conduits and piping
Fixtures and furnishings: Plastic hardener

Description:
Bisphenol A is a chemical compound with two phenol functional groups in its molecule that belongs to the phenol class of aromatic organic compounds. It is prepared by the reaction of two equivalents of phenol with one equivalent of acetone.

Main component use:
Its current main uses are as a monomer in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic and in the manufacture of epoxy resins. Bisphenol A is also used as an antioxidant in plasticizers and in PVC, and as a polymerization inhibitor in PVC. Polycarbonates are widely used in many consumer products, from sunglasses and CDs to water and food containers and shatter-resistant baby bottles. Some polymers used in dental fillings also contain bisphenol A, while epoxy resins containing bisphenol A is a popular coating for the inside of cans used for canning food.

Health concerns and other detail:
BPA is a suspected endocrine disruptor as it can activate estrogen receptors leading to similar physiological effects produced by the body's own estrogens. Some hormone disrupting effects have been found in studies on animals, and human cancer cells have been shown to occur at levels as low as 2-5 ppb (parts per billion). It has been claimed that these effects lead to health problems such as lowered sperm count and infertile sperm. BPA has been found to leach from plastics which are cleaned with harsh detergents or used to contain acidic or high temperature liquids. The chemical has been found in nearly every human tested in the United States. The plastics industry has long claimed that bisphenol A is safe at typical levels of human exposure. Eleven industry-funded studies found no risk from bisphenol A, while 90% of 104 independent studies showed possible risks.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Borax (sodium borate or sodium tetraborate)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Fungicide
Timbers: Wood preservative - Fungicide/ Insecticide
Insulation, membranes: Cellulose Fibre Insulation
Soft Furnishings: Fire retardant

Description:
A soft white many-sided crystal that dissolves easily in water. If left exposed to dry air, it slowly loses its water and becomes the white chalky mineral tincalconite.

Main component use:
Borax is widely used in detergents, water softeners, soaps, disinfectants, and pesticides. It is well known as a hand-cleaner for industrial workers. Commercially sold borax is usually partially dehydrated. It is used in making enamel glazes, glass and in strengthening pottery and ceramics. It is also easily converted to boric acid or borate, which has many applications. Large amounts of borax pentahydrate is used as a fire retardant and anti-fungal compound in the manufacture of fibreglass and cellulose insulation . Large amounts are also used in production of sodium perborate monohydrate for use in detergents. A mixture of borax and ammonium chloride is used as a flux when welding iron and steel. It lowers the melting point of the unwanted iron oxide (scale), allowing it to run off. It is also commonly used for preserving timbers.

Health concerns and other detail:
Moderately toxic if swallowed. Considered low-level environmental toxin. Preferred alternative to other toxins e.g. CCA treatment.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Bromine

Found in the following building materials:
Insulation, membranes: Fire retardant in Cellulose Insulation
Soft Furnishings: Fabric flame proofing, Dyes

Description:
Bromine is a red volatile liquid at room temperature. It reacts between chlorine and iodine and has a strong odour resembling chlorine.

Main component use:
Elemental bromine is manufacture to provide a wide variety of bromine compounds used in industry and agriculture. Bromine is used in the manufacture of fumigants, flame proofing agents, water purification compounds, dyes, medicines, sanitisers, inorganic bromides for photography, etc. It is also used to form intermediates in organic synthesis, where it is preferred to iodine due to its much lower cost.

Health concerns and other detail:
This element is corrosive to human tissue in a liquid state and its vapours irritate eyes and throat and are very toxic upon inhalation. Elemental bromine is a strong irritant and, in concentrated form, will produce painful blisters on exposed skin and especially mucous membranes. Even low concentrations of bromine vapour (from 10 ppm) can affect breathing, and inhalation of significant amounts of bromine can seriously damage the respiratory system. May be bio accumulative. May be an endocrine disruptor. Bromine is used to make brominated vegetable oil which is used as an emulsifier in many citrus-flavoured soft drinks.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Butadiene see ABS and SBR Nitrile Rubber

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Solvents
Floors and Floor Coverings: Synthetic rubber backings
Fixtures and furnishings: Synthetic rubbers
Soft Furnishings: Nylons

Description:
When the word butadiene is used, most of the time it refers to 1,3-butadiene. 1,3-Butadiene is a simple conjugated diene. Dienes are hydrocarbons which contain two double bonds. Dienes are intermediate between alkenes and polyenes.

Main component use:
An important industrial chemical polymerized to produce synthetic rubber. While polybutadiene itself is a very soft, almost liquid material, polymers prepared from mixtures of butadiene with styrene or acrylonitrile, such as ABS, are both tough and elastic. Styrene-butadiene rubber is the material most commonly used for the production of automobile tyres. Smaller amounts of butadiene are used to make nylon via the intermediate adiponitrile, other synthetic rubber materials such as chloroprene, and the solvent sulfolane.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a probable carcinogen. Contact with liquid butadiene can result in irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. When inhaled, butadiene is a mild depressant and can result in drowsiness. Very high concentrations can cause unconsciousness or death. In some animals, long-term exposure to butadiene can result in cancer of the liver or kidneys. Butadiene is a potent carcinogen in mice, but only a weak carcinogen in rats. Studies of workers in chemical plants using butadiene have shown no conclusive increase in cancer risk for whatever amount of butadiene these workers may have been exposed to, so butadiene remains classified as only a potential human carcinogen.

Sources - see information sources for details:

Carbon Monoxide

Found in the following building materials:

Description:
Airbourne VOC (Volatile Organic Compound). Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, practically odourless, and tasteless gas or liquid. It results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion.? Burns with a violet flame.? Slightly soluble in water; soluble in alcohol and benzene.?

Main component use:
This is a VOC. Unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages; and tobacco smoke.? Incomplete oxidation during combustion in gas ranges and unvented gas or kerosene heaters may cause high concentrations of CO in indoor air.? Worn or poorly adjusted and maintained combustion devices (e.g., boilers, furnaces) can be significant sources, or if the flue is improperly sized, blocked, disconnected, or is leaking.? Auto, truck, or bus exhaust from attached garages, nearby roads, or parking areas can also be a source.

Health concerns and other detail:
At low concentrations, fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. At higher concentrations, impaired vision and coordination; headaches; dizziness; confusion; nausea. Can cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home. Fatal at very high concentrations.? Acute effects are due to the formation of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood, which inhibits oxygen intake.? At moderate concentrations, angina, impaired vision, and reduced brain function may result.? At higher concentrations, CO exposure can be fatal.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA, Tanalith) see Arsenic, Chromium and Sodium Silicate

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Timber wall frames
Timbers: Bactericide, Insecticide and Fungicide
Floors and Floor Coverings: Timber floor frames
Fixtures and furnishings: Timber furniture frames

Description:
Recognized for the greenish tint it imparts to timber.

Main component use:
It is a mix of copper chromate and copper arsenate (Arsenic). It preserves the wood from rotting due to insects and microbes. The chromium acts as a bactericide, the copper acts as fungicide, and the arsenate acts as insecticide. Chromium is a fixative which also provides ultraviolet (UV) light resistance. It became used as an alternative to creosote, pentachlorophenol, and coal tar. The CCA chemicals may leach from the wood into surrounding soil, resulting in concentrations higher than naturally occurring background levels. Once these chemicals have leached from the wood they are likely to bind to soil particles, especially in soils with clay or soils that are more alkaline than neutral. Sodium silicate is one of the modern alternatives to CCA.

Health concerns and other detail:
See health concerns for Arsenic. In the United States on 1 January 2004 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began restricting the use of CCA in treated lumber in residential and commercial construction, with the exception of shakes and shingles, permanent wood foundations, and certain commercial applications. Recent years have seen fatal animal poisonings, and serious human poisonings resulting from the ingestion - directly or indirectly, of wood ash from CCA timber (the lethal human dose is approximately 20 grams of ash - roughly a tablespoon). Scrap CCA construction timber continues to be widely burnt through ignorance, in both commercial, and domestic fires. Safe disposal of CCA timber remains patchy, and little practiced, there is concern in some quarters about the widespread landfill disposal of such timber.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Cadmium

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: In red and yellow pigments, rust proofing materials.
Floors and Floor Coverings: Stabiliser in PVC, galvanised pipes.
Fixtures and furnishings: Ceramics

Description:
A relatively rare, soft, bluish-white, toxic transition metal, cadmium occurs with zinc ores.

Main component use:
About three-fourths of available cadmium is used in batteries (especially Ni-Cd batteries) and most of the remaining one-fourth is used mainly for pigments, coatings and plating, as stabilizers for plastics and a fungicide. Used in some semiconductors such as cadmium sulphide, cadmium selenide, and cadmium telluride, which can be used for light detection or solar cells.

Health concerns and other detail:
Cadmium and solutions of its compounds are extremely toxic even in low concentrations, and will bioaccumulate in organisms and ecosystems. One possible reason for its toxicity is that it interferes with the action of zinc-containing enzymes. Cadmium may interfere with biological processes containing zinc, magnesium and calcium in a similar fashion. Inhaling cadmium laden dust quickly leads to respiratory tract and kidney problems which can be fatal (often from renal failure). Ingestion of any significant amount of cadmium causes immediate poisoning and damage to the liver and the kidneys, osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Compounds containing cadmium are also carcinogenic. Cadmium poisoning is the cause of the itai-itai disease, which literally means "pain pain" in Japanese. Cadmium is?one of a group of?chemicals that cannot be added during manufacture if furniture is to be awarded an 'Eco' label from Good Environmental Choice Australia.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Carbon Black (Lampblack, Pigment Black 7, Black Carbon, Soot)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Black pigment in Paints & Products
Floors and Floor Coverings: Pigment in rubber backing
Conduits, piping, plumbing: UV stabilser in plastic piping.

Description:
Carbon Black is a dark powdery deposit of unburned fuel residues, usually composed mainly of amorphous carbon, that accumulates in chimneys, automobile mufflers and other surfaces exposed to smoke?especially from the combustion of carbon-rich organic fuels in the lack of sufficient oxygen.

Main component use:
Soot has been used as the black pigment in paints and inks since prehistoric times, and is still widely used in printing inks, toners for xerography, laser printers, and in the chemical industry. It is also used as food colouring, e.g. in liquorice sweets. The black colour of rubber tyres is due to the use of lampblack as an ingredient in their vulcanisation; this use accounts for around 85% of the market use of carbon black.

Health concerns and other detail:
Soot is in the general category of airborne particulate matter, and as such is considered hazardous to the lungs and general health when the particles are less than 5 micrometres in diameter, as such particles are not filtered out by the upper respiratory tract. Smoke from diesel engines, while composed mostly of carbon soot, is considered especially dangerous owing to both its particulate size and the many other chemical compounds present.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Chromium

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Primer and Enamel paints
Timbers: Preservative
Fixtures and furnishings: Tap ware, stainless steel
Soft Furnishings: Leather tanning

Description:
Chromium is a steel-grey, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish, and has a high melting point.

Main component use:
A heavy metal used in many building products. Used for corrosion resistance and to impart a shining surface in alloys such as stainless steel, chrome plating, anodized aluminium. Chromium salts and Chromium 111 Oxide is also used in dyes and paints. Chromite salts are used for tanning leather. Potassium dichromate is a chemical reagent, used as a mordant (i.e., a fixing agent) for dyes in fabric.

Health concerns and other detail:
Trivalent chromium (Cr(III), or Cr3+) is required in trace amounts for sugar metabolism in humans, and its deficiency can cause chromium deficiency. In contrast, hexavalent chromium , Chromium(VI) is toxic and an established human carcinogen. It is a known cause of lung cancer. Chromium VI (hexavalent) is an Australian?National Pollutants Index (NPI) listed chemical. In its insoluble trivalent hydroxide?form (as opposed to the NPI listed hexavalent form) it is a common by-product? of leather tanning and has been linked to vitro teratogenic and bioaccumulative effects, primarily via inhalation and skin exposure. Chromium is?one of a group of?chemicals that cannot be added during manufacture if furniture is to be awarded an 'Eco' label from Good Environmental Choice Australia.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Di-isocyanates - See Isocyanates

Found in the following building materials:

Sources - see information sources for details:

Dioxin (Polychlorinated dibenzofurans, PCDFs and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, PCDDs and Pentachlorophenol, polychlorinated biphenyls PCB). See POP's

Found in the following building materials:
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Resins
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Sealants
Glues/ Adhesives : Adhesives
Timbers: Preservative
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Plastics
Fixtures and furnishings: Plastic

Description:
Dioxin is the popular name for the family of halogenated organic compounds, the most common consisting of polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs).

Main component use:
Dioxins are produced in small concentrations when organic material is burned in the presence of chlorine, whether the chlorine is present as chloride ions or as organochlorine compounds, so they are widely produced in many contexts. According to the most recent EPA data the major sources of dioxin are from typical cigarettes, those with chlorine-bleached paper and residues of many chlorine pesticides. Nevertheless, chlorine tobacco pesticides and chlorine-bleached cigarette papers remain legal. Affected compounds include the wood preservative pentachlorophenol. Dioxins are present in minuscule amounts in a wide range of materials used by humans ? including practically all substances manufactured using plastics, resins or bleaches. Such materials include tampons, and a wide variety of food packaging substances. The use of these materials means that all humans receive (at least) a very small daily dose of dioxin.

Health concerns and other detail:
Dioxins are a group of chemicals that are a global health threat because they persist in the environment and can travel long distances. Dioxins build up in living tissue (bioaccumulate) over time, so even small exposures may accumulate to dangerous levels. Dioxin enters the general population almost exclusively from ingestion of food, specifically through the consumption of fish, meat, and dairy products since dioxins are fat-soluble and readily climb the food chain. If exposure to dioxins is sufficiently extensive, these chemicals can cause a range of toxic effects in animals and humans, including skin lesions, reproductive disorders and endometrios, increased rates of liver and lung cancer, damage to the immune system, birth defects, diabetes, developmental abnormalities in the enamel of children's teeth and a severe form of persistent acne, known as chloracne. The USA classified dioxin as a 'Known Human Carcinogen', and the USA signed the Stockholm Convention on POP's (see Persistant Organic Chemicals listed separately in this database) listed to globally phase out dioxin.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Australian Government National Health and Medical...

Epichlorohydrin see Epoxy resins

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Paints
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Use in Epoxy resins and varnishes
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Caulking
Glues/ Adhesives : Wood and metal glues
Timbers: Wood stains
Floors and Floor Coverings: Tiles/ Cement and surface binders
Fixtures and furnishings: Wet strength agent in pulp and paper manufacture

Description:
Noxious smelling clear liquid.

Main component use:
This is a high volume chemical with production exceeding 1 million pounds annually in the U.S. It is used in the following industries: Paper Coating for Coating resins; Printing for Photopolymers; Pulp and Paper Manufacture as Wet Strength Agents and the Wood Stains industry as a Varnish and Resin Solvent

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC and ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health. Epichlorohydrin is a recognized carcinogen and reproductive toxicant. It is a suspected cardiovascular or blood toxicant , endocrine toxicant, gastrointestinal or liver toxicant, immunotoxicant, kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant, respiratory toxicant and skin or sense organ toxicant.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....
    » Baggs,Joan.'The Healthy House', 1996, Sydney Harper...

Epoxy Resin see Epichlorohydrin and Bisphenol-A (BPA)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Paints, Primers on metal surfaces to stop rusting.
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Varnishes
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Caulking
Glues/ Adhesives : Wood and metal glues
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Concrete reinforcing bar
Timbers: Wood stains
Floors and Floor Coverings: Tiles, cement and surface binders for high performance terrazzo flooring, chip flooring and coloured aggregate flooring.
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Corrosion protection of steel pipes and fittings, potable water transmission steel pipelines.
Fixtures and furnishings: Wet strength agent in pulp and paper manufacture

Description:
Epoxy or polyepoxide is a thermosetting epoxide polymer that cures (polymerizes and crosslinks) when mixed with a catalysing agent or "hardener". Most common epoxy resins are produced from a reaction between Epichlorohydrin and bisphenol-A.

Main component use:
Examples include powder coatings for washers, driers and other "white goods". Fusion Bonded Epoxy Powder Coatings (FBE) are extensively used for corrosion protection of steel pipes and fittings used in the oil & gas industry, potable water transmission pipelines (steel), concrete reinforcing rebar etc. Epoxy coatings are also widely used as primers to improve the adhesion of automotive and marine paints especially on metal surfaces where corrosion (rusting) resistance is important. Metal cans and containers are often coated with epoxy coatings to prevent rusting especially for foods like tomatoes that are acidic. Epoxy resins are also used for high performance & decorative flooring applications especially terrazzo flooring, Chip Flooring [1]and colored aggregate flooring [2].

Health concerns and other detail:
For Health concerns see Epichlorohydrin and Bisphenol-A (BPA).

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Mobbs, Michael. 'Sustainable House' Ed (2004) Sydney,...
    » Principal author - Chris Reardon from the Institute for...
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Ethylene Glycol (Dimethoxyethane, monoethylene glycol (MEG), Glyme, monoglyme, dimethyl glycol, ethylene glycol dimethyl ether, dimethyl cellosolve, DME, 2-Butoxyethanol) see Polyethylene Terephthalate

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Aerosol paint concentrates, Flat and satin water thinned interior and exterior paints and tinting bases, allied paint products, including brush cleaners, Semi gloss, eggshell, water thinned exterior and interior under coaters and primers, corrosion resist
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Synthetic resin, Water thinned exterior stains
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Caulks, modified and unmodified oil base, General performance sealants (PVAC, butyl, vinyl, etc.), Non-structural caulking compounds and sealants, Specialty performance sealants
Glues/ Adhesives : Rubber adhesives
Soft Furnishings: Other art materials incl clay, water & tempera colours, finger paint, etc.

Description:
In its pure form, it is an odourless, colourless, syrupy liquid with a sweet taste. Dimethoxyethane is highly soluble in water.

Main component use:
This is a high volume chemical with production exceeding 1 million pounds annually in the U.S. The major use of ethylene glycol is as an engine coolant and antifreeze due to its low freezing point. Ethylene glycol has become increasingly important in the plastics industry for the manufacture of polyester fibres and resins, including polyethylene terephthalate, which is used to make plastic bottles for soft drinks. Ethylene glycol is also used in liquid cooling systems in some personal computers.

Health concerns and other detail:
Suspected Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Developmental Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Reproductive Toxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant. The major danger from ethylene glycol is from its ingestion. Due to its sweet taste, children and animals will sometimes consume large quantities of it if given access to antifreeze. Initially, victims may appear to be intoxicated, exhibiting symptoms such as dizziness, slurred speech, and confusion. Over time, the body metabolizes ethylene glycol into another toxin, oxalic acid. Build-up of this substance results in irregularities in the victim's heartbeat and breathing. In the final stage, the victim suffers kidney failure. In developed countries, denatonium is generally added to ethylene glycol preparations in order to offset the sweet taste.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Klymenko, P.,'Indoor Air Quality: Selecting Products for...
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Aerosol paint concentrates, interior water thinned coatings, Semi gloss, eggshell, satin water thinned interior paints and tinting bases, Water thinned exterior and interior under coaters and primers
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Paint and varnish removers, Paint thinners, Synthetic resin
Glues/ Adhesives : Rubber adhesives
Floors and Floor Coverings: Rubber adhesives
Insulation, membranes: Acoustical mineral wool, such as wall and ceiling insulation.
Fixtures and furnishings: Wood office work surfaces (modular systems)
Soft Furnishings: Textile finishes

Description:
Colourless liquid with a mild odour.

Main component use:
Synthetic solvents used in paints, lacquers, resins. Solvent for nitrocellulose, natural and synthetic resins, soluble oils, lacquers, varnishes and enamels. Also used in textile dyeing and printing, in the treatment of leather, in the production of plasticizers, as a stabilizer in metal cleaners and household cleaner, and in hydraulic fluids, insecticides, herbicides and rust removers.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC. Nose and throat irritation; a metallic taste in the mouth and headache. Exposure to high concentrations, probably in the range of 300 to 600 ppm for several hours may cause respiratory tract irritation, unconsciousness, and kidney and liver damage. Some reports of damage to blood cells, and blood in urine.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...

Ethylene Propylene Rubber (EPR, EPDM & EPM)

Found in the following building materials:
Insulation, membranes: Roofing membranes, Electrical insulation, geomembranes
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Hoses, tubing, geomembranes
Fixtures and furnishings: Glass run channels

Description:
Ethylene-propylene rubber, poly(ethylene-co-propylene), is a random copolymer of ethylene and propylene. This is a rubbery noncrystalline material commonly used for toughening of other polymers. Propylene, also known by its IUPAC name propene, is an organic compound having the chemical formula C3H6. It is the second simplest member of the alkene class of hydrocarbons, ethylene (ethene) being the simplest.

Main component use:
Ethylene-propylene rubbers and elastomers continue to be one of the most widely used and fastest growing synthetic rubbers having both specialty and general-purpose applications.

Health concerns and other detail:
None found in research.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The A-Z of materials website. http://www.azom.com and...

Ethylene TetrafluoroEthylene (ETFE)

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Architectural roofing
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Tubing

Description:
This is a flurocarbon made from ethylene (or IUPAC name ethene) which is the simplest alkene hydrocarbon, consisting of four hydrogen atoms and two carbon atoms connected by a double bond and fluorine which is a halogen with the chemical element in the periodic table - F. Flourine in its pure form, it is a poisonous, pale, yellow-green gas, with chemical formula F2. Tetrafluoroethylene C2F4, is a compound of carbon and fluorine. It is a derivative of ethylene in which each of the four hydrogen atoms have been replaced with fluorine.

Main component use:
The built structure of the Allianz Football Stadium, Munich, Germany (used to host the opening of the 2006 World Cup Soccer) forms the biggest ETFE membrane shell in the world. It is a fluoropolymer that is a polyethylene which is melt processable and has a melting point of approximately 518 degrees Fahrenheit (270 centigrade). The 3M product is called Dyneon? Fluorothermoplastic and Du Pont's is called Tefzel? and is closely related to Teflon? (another flourocarbon, Polytetrafluoroethylene PFTE), Symalit? ETFE and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Norton? ETFE fluoropolymer film. It has a high resistance to outdoor weathering, good resistance to solvents and chemicals, transfers light and has good resistance to radiation and tearing.

Health concerns and other detail:
Molecular fluorine is highly dangerous; it causes severe chemical burns on contact with skin. The MSDS for Symalit? ETFE reports that it releases noxious gases at 350?C and can cause flu like sytoms and fever. They appear within 2-3 hours and disappear after 36 to 48 hours and do not have a lasting affect.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Formaldehyde

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Plastic Paints, Interior solvent thinned paints
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Plastic resins, Synthetic resin, Phenol formaldehyde resin
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: General performance sealants (PVAC, butyl, vinyl, etc.)
Glues/ Adhesives : Glues, rubber adhesives,
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Chipboard, Particle Boards, Plywood, Fibreboard, Wallpaper, MDF, Tempered basic hardboard (not machined or coated)
Timbers: Plywood, Melamine, Softwood lumber products, Standard basic hardboard (not machined or coated)
Floors and Floor Coverings: Synthetic carpets and all PVC floor coverings, concrete, Particleboard floor underlayment, Sheet vinyl flooring
Insulation, membranes: Urea foam insulation batts, Mineral wool building batts, blankets and rolls
Fixtures and furnishings: Doors with solid composite core and hardwood face, Vinyl furniture, Industrial particleboard (furniture, fixtures, cabinets, etc.), Non-wood upholstered office side and arm chairs, Wood office furniture, Wood office secretarial chairs, Wood office work su
Soft Furnishings: Plastic curtain backings, drip dry fabrics, fabrics that are crease resistant, fire retardant, colour fixed, waterproof, Scatter rugs, bathmats, wall coverings

Description:
Airbourne and Waterbourne VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) Formaldehyde readily results from the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing materials. It may be found in the smoke from forest fires, in automobile exhaust, and in tobacco smoke. In the atmosphere, formaldehyde is produced by the action of sunlight and oxygen on atmospheric methane and other hydrocarbons. Small amounts of formaldehyde are produced as a metabolic by-product in most organisms, including humans. Formaldehyde is a colourless, pungent-smelling gas. It is readily soluble in water.

Main component use:
This is a high volume chemical with production exceeding 1 million pounds annually in the U.S. Most formaldehyde is used in the production of polymers and other chemicals. A hard thermoset resin is produced when combined with phenol, urea, or melamine. Pressed wood products (hardwood, plywood, wall paneling, plyboard, particleboard, fiberboard, chipboard) use glues of urea, phenol and melamine formaldehyde. Urea-formaldehyde is used for foam insulation (UFFI). Formaldehyde kills most bacteria, and a solution of formaldehyde in water is commonly used as a disinfectant. It is also used as a preservative, finish for carpets, textiles and paper, to add permanent-press qualities to fabrics, in glues and adhesives, and as a preservative in some paints and coating products. It is added to sanitary paper products such as facial tissue, table napkins, roll towels and toothpaste. Derivitives of polyfunctional alcohols such as pentaerythritol are used to make paints. Other derivatives include methylene diphenyl di-isocyanate, a component in polyurethane paints and foams. It has uses as a preservative in vaccinations. It is released by environmental tobacco smoke.

Health concerns and other detail:
Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has categorised it as a Group 1 carcinogen ie. a human carcinogen. It is the most common domestic air pollutant known as a VOC (see VOC listed separately in this database). Causes water and burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat irritation, nausea, asthma and lung disease, fatigue, skin rash, severe allergic reactions, sleep loss, depression. Respiratory and mucous membrane irritant at low levels. Suspected: Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Immunotoxicant, Neurotoxicant, Reproductive Toxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant. Formaldehyde is converted to formic acid in the body, leading to a rise in blood acidity, rapid, shallow breathing, hypothermia, and coma or death. In the body, formaldehyde can cause proteins to irreversibly bind to DNA. Laboratory animals exposed to large doses of inhaled formaldehyde over their lifetimes have developed more cancers of the nose and throat than are usual, as have workers in particle-board sawmills.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Forster, Janet. 'How to Build a Chemical-Free House',...
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Mobbs, Michael. 'Sustainable House' Ed (2004) Sydney,...
    » Principal author - Chris Reardon from the Institute for...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Glass wool (respirable size)

Found in the following building materials:
Insulation, membranes: Thermal, electrical and acoustical insulation, weatherproofing and filtration.
Conduits, piping, plumbing: High efficiency air filtration

Description:
Glass wool (respirable size): Two nominations: (1) Insulation glass wool fibres (2) Special purposes glass fibres.

Main component use:
The major uses of glass wool are in thermal, electrical, and acoustical insulation, weatherproofing, and filtration media. In 1980, approximately 80% of the glass wool produced for structural insulation was used in houses. Special purpose fibres are used for high-efficiency air filtration media, and acid battery separators.

Health concerns and other detail:
Glass wool (respirable size) is currently listed in the RoC ( Report on Carcinogens, National Toxicology Programme; US Department of Health and Human Services) as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) finding for glass wool insulation provids limited evidence of carcinogenicity in animals and evaluates it as not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3) (Vol. 81, 2002). The finding for 'Special-purpose glass fibres' shows sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals (Vol. 81, 2002).

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » National Toxicology Programme; US Department of Health...

Halogens - see Bromine, PVC

Found in the following building materials:
Insulation, membranes: Plasticised PVC products
Conduits, piping, plumbing: All plasticised PVC products
Fixtures and furnishings: All plasticised PVC products

Description:
The halogens are a chemical series. They are the elements of the periodic table: fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I), astatine (At). These elements require one more electron to fill their outer electron shells, and so have a tendency to form a singly-charged negative ion. This negative ion is referred to as a halide ion; salts containing these ions are known as halides.

Main component use:
Chlorine is the active ingredient of most fabric bleaches and is used in the production of most paper products. Many synthetic organic compounds such as plastic polymers, and a few natural ones, contain halogen atoms; these are known as halogenated compounds or organic halides.

Health concerns and other detail:
Halogens are highly reactive, and as such can be harmful or lethal to biological organisms in sufficient quantities. Fluorine is the most reactive element in existence, even attacking glass, and forming compounds with the noble gases. It is a corrosive, highly toxic gas. Chlorine and iodine are both used as disinfectants for such things as drinking water, swimming pools, fresh wounds, dishes, and surfaces. They kill bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms.

Sources - see information sources for details:

Isocyanates and Di-isocyanates see Polyurethane

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Polyurethanes
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Varnishes
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Fillers, floor sealers.
Glues/ Adhesives : Glues
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Domed ceilings and odd shapes and behind paper and metal claddings for thermal properties, sound deadening and rigidity
Insulation, membranes: Thermal insulation
Fixtures and furnishings: Furniture

Description:
An isocyanate that has two isocyanate groups is known as a di-isocyanate. Di-isocyanates are manufactured for reaction with polyols in the production of polyurethanes

Main component use:
Frequently used in polyurethane floor sealers with the highest concentration of Di-isocynates in the glossiest, hardest and most brittle sealers, which also commonly combines toulene.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC and carcinogen. The reactivity of isocyanates and di-isocynates makes them harmful to living tissue. They are toxic and a severe respiratory irritant and are known to cause asthma in humans, both through inhalation exposure and dermal contact. Exposure to isocyanates and their vapours should be avoided.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Mobbs, Michael. 'Sustainable House' Ed (2004) Sydney,...
    » Principal author - Chris Reardon from the Institute for...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Limonene (d-limonene, Dipentene)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Solvent used in many ?natural? paints.
Fixtures and furnishings: Wood office furniture

Description:
Limonene is a hydrocarbon, classed as a terpene. It is a clear, colourless liquid at room temperatures with an extremely strong smell of oranges.

Main component use:
This is a high volume chemical with production exceeding 1 million pounds annually in the U.S. Mostly used as a hard surface cleaner, polisher and in soaps. Solvent used in many ?natural? paints.

Health concerns and other detail:
Limonene and its oxidation products are skin irritants, and limonene-1,2-oxide (formed by aerial oxidation) is a known skin sensitizer. Most reported cases of irritation have involved long-term industrial exposure to the pure compound, e.g. during degreasing or the preparation of paints.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Mercury

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Used as mould and mildew inhibitor in some latex paints.

Description:
A heavy, silvery, transition metal, mercury is one of five elements that are liquid at or near standard room temperature.

Main component use:
Mercury is used primarily for the manufacture of industrial chemicals or for electrical and electronic applications. It can be found in paint, although anti-fouling paints were supposedly discontinued in 1990 in the US. Metallic mercury is used to produce chlorine gas and caustic soda. It is also used in electrical switches, barometers, dental fillings, fluorescent light bulbs, some blood pressure devices, and some batteries. Used medically as a fungicide and antibacterial and is released from preservatives used in vaccines (thimerosal or merthiolate)

Health concerns and other detail:
Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health. Mercury is a bioaccumulative toxin that is easily absorbed through the skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal tissues. Mercury can cause a cumulative effect in the brain and in other tissues and can cause neurological disturbances such as tremors. Mercury attacks the central nervous system and endocrine system and adversely affects the mouth, gums, and teeth. High exposure over long periods of time will result in brain damage and ultimately death. (The term "Mad as a hatter" is thought to relate to occupational insanity caused by exposure to mercury compounds in the manufacture of felt hats in the 19th century). It can pose a major health risk to an unborn fetus. According to the World Health Organization, consumption of fish that are contaminated with mercury is the primary source of exposure to mercury for most people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises women of child-bearing age and children to completely avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish and to limit consumption of albacore tuna and tuna steaks to 6 oz. or less per week.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....
    » US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry....
    » Baggs,Joan.'The Healthy House', 1996, Sydney Harper...

Metals: Barium, Cobalt, Lead, Manganese, Selenium, Zinc. See Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium and Mercury

Found in the following building materials:
Floors and Floor Coverings: Some pigments e.g. strontium yellow, emerald green, manganese blue,

Description:
Heavy metal - is an element that readily forms ions (cations) and has metallic bonds. Metals are sometimes described as a lattice of positive ions (cations) surrounded by a cloud of delocalized electrons.

Main component use:
Heavy metals are chemical elements that have a specific gravity (a measure of density) at least five times that of water. The heavy metals most often implicated in human poisoning are lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. Some heavy metals, such as zinc, copper, chromium, iron, and manganese, are required by the body in small amounts, but these same elements can be toxic in larger quantities. Heavy metals are found in many different products but in construction and those we are most readily exposed to are paints. See Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium and Mercury

Health concerns and other detail:
Toxic to highly-toxic. Living organisms require trace amounts of some heavy metals, including cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, strontium, and zinc, but excessive levels can be detrimental to the organism. Other heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium have no known vital or beneficial effect on organisms, and their accumulation over time in the bodies of mammals can cause serious illness. The pathway for toxic effects on humans is normally: (i) for the entry of heavy metals into the atmosphere as industrial stack gas; (ii) or to enter the soil as a soil contaminant; (iii) or to enter groundwater as a water pollutant; or to be deposited in ocean bottoms or bay mud, which materials at a later time be dredged to the surface. Some paint pigments made from heavy metals e.g. strontium yellow, emerald green, manganese blue, are known carcinogens. See Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium and Mercury.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Methylene Chloride (Dichloromethane)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Paint Stripper

Description:
A colourless, volatile liquid with a moderately strong aroma, which is sweet in some sense but which makes some people feel very uncomfortable. Produced by reacting either methyl chloride or methane with chlorine gas at 400-500?C.

Main component use:
Widely used as a solvent for organic materials. It is mainly used as a paint stripper and a degreaser. In the food industry, it is used to decaffeinate coffee and to prepare extracts of hops and other flavourings. Its volatility has led to its use as an aerosol spray propellant and as a blowing agent for polyurethane foams. It is also used as a fumigant pesticide for stored strawberries and grains. However, concerns about its health effects have led to a search for alternatives to it in many of these applications.

Health concerns and other detail:
Methylene chloride is the least toxic of the simple chlorohydrocarbons, but it is not without health risks. Chronic exposure to methylene chloride may be carcinogenic, as it has been linked to cancer of the lungs, liver, and pancreas in laboratory animals. It is a mutagen and teratogen, causing birth defects if women are exposed to it during pregnancy. Prolonged skin contact can result in the methylene chloride dissolving some of the fatty tissues in skin, resulting in skin irritation or chemical burns.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Baggs,Joan.'The Healthy House', 1996, Sydney Harper...

Methylene Diphenyl Di-isocyanate MDI see Aniline, Polyurethane and Isocyanates

Found in the following building materials:
Glues/ Adhesives : Urethane adhesives
Insulation, membranes: Thermal Insulation

Description:
An aromatic diisocyanate.

Main component use:
This is a high volume chemical with production exceeding 1 million pounds annually in the U.S. The 4,4' isomer is most practically useful, and is also known as Pure MDI. MDI is reacted with a polyol (alcohol sugars) in the manufacture of rigid polyurethane.

Health concerns and other detail:
MDI is the least hazardous of the commonly available isocyanates, as it has a very low vapour pressure. This makes handling it relatively safe. However, appropriate precautions should be taken. Aniline is used to produce MDI which is toxic but not a known carcinogen.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Naphthalene (Napthalin, napthene, Napthaline, tar camphor, white tar, albocarbon)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Solvent, Aerosol paint concentrates, Miscellaneous paint-related products
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Synthetic resin and rubber adhesives
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Non-structural caulking compounds and sealants
Fixtures and furnishings: Plastics, Wood office work surfaces (modular systems)
Soft Furnishings: Dyes, Wall coverings

Description:
Naphthalene is a crystalline, aromatic, white, solid hydrocarbon, best known as the primary ingredient of mothballs. It is volatile and can form a flammable vapour. Its molecules consist of two fused benzene rings.

Main component use:
It is manufactured from coal tar, and converted to phthalic anhydride for the manufacture of plastics, dyes and solvents. It is also used as an antiseptic and insecticide, especially in mothballs. It can also be found in deodorants.

Health concerns and other detail:
In humans, exposure to large amounts of naphthalene may damage or destroy red blood cells. This could cause the body to have too few red blood cells until it replaces the destroyed cells. Humans, particularly children, have developed this condition after ingesting mothballs or deodorant blocks containing naphthalene. Some of the symptoms of this condition are fatigue, lack of appetite, restlessness, and pale skin. Exposure to large amounts of naphthalene may also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in the urine, and a yellow colour of the skin. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies naphthalene as possibly carcinogenic to humans [Group 2B]. It also points out that acute exposure causes cataracts haemolytic anaemia. Can occur in children and infants after oral or inhalation exposure or after maternal exposure during pregnancy.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Neoprene (Polychloroprene, Chloroprene, Duprene) see Butadiene

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Corrosion resistant coatings
Glues/ Adhesives : Liquid adhesive
Floors and Floor Coverings: Synthetic rubber used in carpet backings
Insulation, membranes: Noise and electrical insulation
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Hoses
Fixtures and furnishings: Plumbing fixtures. Furniture Adhesives Resins.

Description:
Chloroprene is the common name for the organic compound 2-chloro-1,3-butadiene, which has the chemical formula C4H5Cl and combines Butadiene and chlorine. It is used as a monomer for the production of the polymer polychloroprene, a type of synthetic rubber.

Main component use:
Neoprene, the trade name DuPont gave Polychloroprene when the company first developed it and currently used by DuPont Dow. Moulded it is used for plumbing fixtures; gaskets; hoses; corrosion-resistant coatings; electrical insulation; noise isolation; and mechanical seals and belts. Extruded it is used for garden hoses and inner tubes.

Health concerns and other detail:
See health concerns for Butadiene. Neoprene is a recognised Carcinogen. It is also suspected to be a Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Developmental Toxicant, Endocrine Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Immunotoxicant, Neurotoxicant, Reproductive Toxicant, Respiratory Toxicant and a Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant. Chloroprene vapours are irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract. It is a central nervous system depressant at high levels. The liver and kidney are the most affected organs. Long-term exposure to chloroprene vapour may cause liver function abnormalities, cardiovascular system disorders, and immune system depression. Chloroprene is a federal hazardous air pollutant and was identified as a toxic air contaminant in April 1993 under AB 2728 in the US.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Nickel Compounds

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Pigments
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Alloy in Stainless steel used for splashbacks, kickboards and claddings.
Fixtures and furnishings: Door, drawer, window handles (alloy)

Description:
Nickel is a metallic chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Ni and atomic number 28. Nickel is a silvery white metal that takes on a high polish. It belongs to the iron group, and is hard, malleable, and ductile.

Main component use:
Nickel is used in many industrial and consumer products, including stainless steel, magnets, coinage, and special alloys. It is also used for plating and as a green tint in glass. Nickel is pre-eminently an alloy metal, and its chief use is in the nickel steels and nickel cast irons, of which there are innumerable varieties. It is also widely used for many other alloys, such as nickel brasses and bronzes, and alloys with copper, chromium, aluminium, lead, cobalt, silver and gold.

Health concerns and other detail:
Nickel is known to cause cancer. Is an allergenic compound causing dermatitis. Exposure to nickel metal and soluble compounds should not exceed 0.05 mg/cm? in nickel equivalents per 40-hour work week. Nickel sulphide fume and dust is believed to be carcinogenic, and various other nickel compounds may be as well. Sensitised individuals may show an allergy to nickel affecting their skin. The amount of nickel which is allowed in products which come into contact with human skin is regulated by the European Union. Researchers found amounts of nickel being emitted by 1 and 2 Euro coins far in excess of EU standards as reported in a 2002 journal 'Nature'. This is believed to be due to a galvanic reaction.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Baggs,Joan.'The Healthy House', 1996, Sydney Harper...

Nitrile Rubber (Acrylonitrile butadiene rubber, NBR) see Acrylonitrile and Butadiene

Found in the following building materials:
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Sealants
Glues/ Adhesives : Adhesives
Floors and Floor Coverings: Synthetic Rubber - mixed with cork.
Fixtures and furnishings: Moulded goods.
Soft Furnishings: Floor Mats

Description:
Nitrile rubber is a synthetic rubber copolymer of acrylonitrile (ACN) and butadiene. Some trade names are: Nipol, Krynac and Europrene.

Main component use:
Its resilience makes NBR the perfect material for disposable lab, cleaning, and examination gloves. In the automotive industry, it is used to make fuel and oil handling hoses, seals and grommets. Acrylonitrile butadiene is also used to create moulded goods, footwear, adhesives, sealants, sponge, and floor mats. Compared to natural rubber, nitrile rubber is more resistant to oils and acids, but has inferior strength and flexibility. Nitrile rubber is generally resistant to aliphatic hydrocarbons. However (like natural rubber), it can be attacked by ozone, aromatic hydrocarbons, ketones, esters and aldehydes.

Health concerns and other detail:
Acrylonitrile is considered an environmentally hazardous substance that cannot be freely ejected into the environment (it must be disposed through a rotary kiln, fluidized bed, liquid injection incineration, or underground injection). Because the compound is quite volatile and readily soluble in water, its release to the environment from waste sites is a concern. Since unused monomers can easily be recycled, its disposal is not an unbearable concern. Thus, despite more stringent disposal restrictions, acrylonitrile butadiene rubber is produced throughout North America. The production process itself is not overly complex and the necessary apparatus is simple and easy to obtain. For these reasons the substance is widely produced in poorer countries where labor is cheaper. Among the highest producers of NBR are Taiwan and China.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Nitrogen Dioxide (Dinitrogen tetroxide, Nitrogen peroxide)

Found in the following building materials:
Fixtures and furnishings: Kerosene heaters, un-vented gas stoves and heaters

Description:
Airbourne VOC. A red-brown gas or yellow liquid; becomes colourless solid at -11.2?C, which exists in varying equilibrium with other oxides of nitrogen as the temperature is varied.? A component of automotive exhaust fumes.?

Main component use:
It is one of the most prominent air pollutants and an insidious poison by inhalation. The gas is released from kerosene heaters, un-vented gas stoves and heaters and environmental tobacco smoke.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC and Nitrogen dioxide is toxic by inhalation. NO? acts mainly as an irritant affecting the mucosa of the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract. Extremely high-dose exposure (as in a building fire) to NO? may result in pulmonary edema and diffuse lung injury. Continued exposure to high NO? levels can contribute to the development of acute or chronic bronchitis. Low level NO? exposure may cause increased bronchial reactivity in some asthmatics, decreased lung function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and increased risk of respiratory infections, especially in young children.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Nylon (Polyamide)

Found in the following building materials:
Floors and Floor Coverings: Carpet
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Abrasion-resistant cable ducts
Fixtures and furnishings: Furniture fittings
Soft Furnishings: Fabrics

Description:
A polyamide is a polymer containing monomers joined by peptide bonds. They can occur both naturally in proteins (wool and silk) or artificially (Nylon, Kevlar and sodium poly-aspartate).

Main component use:
There are different types of PA polymers and all tend to be labelled carelessly under the heading of "Nylon" (Du Pont). The largest volume sales are of the PA 6 and PA 6/6 variants. The other materials tend to be specialist polymers. The use of glass fibre and other reinforcements can improve the mechanical properties (modulus and strength). PA can be bonded with phenol or resorcinol based adhesives, isocyanates or reactive adhesives.

Health concerns and other detail:
PA does not constitute a health hazard but in food contact applications care must be taken in the choice of additives used such as isocyantes.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » California State University - Northridge....
    » Tangram Technology Ltd. - Consulting Engineers for...

Pentachlorophenol (PCP)-

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Preservative in plywood
Timbers: Preservative in plywood
Floors and Floor Coverings: Rubber softener
Fixtures and furnishings: Preservative in plywood, rubber softener

Description:
Pentachlorophenol (C6HCl5O) is a synthetic fungicide which is an organochloride. Pentachlorophenol is a synthetic substance, made from other chemicals. Humans are generally exposed to technical-grade pentachlorophenol, which usually contains such toxic impurities as polychlorinated dibenzo- p-dioxins and dibenzofurans.

Main component use:
It was once used as a pesticide and wood preservative. In 1984 (or 1987 ? references vary), the purchase and use of pentachlorophenol was restricted in the United States, and the general public may no longer buy it. It still has some industrial use as a wood preservative for utility poles, railroad ties, and wharf pilings.

Health concerns and other detail:
Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems. Exposures to pentachlorophenol measured in minute quantities has been shown to affect the endocrine system of vertebrate life forms and may lead to immune system dysfunction, and disruption of normal sexual, cognitive, physical and emotional development. It has also been linked to trans-generational cancer through disruption of foetal development. Wood preservatives containing pentachlorophenol (Penta) are among the most hazardous of consumer products. Despite well-known health risks, Penta is still widely used in Australia and throughout the US and Canada. Avoid it whenever buying treated wood products.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Phenol see BPA, Benzene

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Paint and varnish removers
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Synthetic resin
Glues/ Adhesives : Glues, rubber adhesives, Phenol formaldehyde resin
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Laminated plastics
Fixtures and furnishings: Laminated plastics

Description:
Phenol, also known under an older name of carbolic acid, is a colourless crystalline solid with a sweet tarry odour. Phenol can be made from the partial oxidation of benzene, by the cumene process, or by the Raschig process. It can also be found as a product of coal oxidation.

Main component use:
This is a high volume chemical with production exceeding 1 million pounds annually in the U.S. Phenol ranks in the top 50 in production volumes for chemicals produced in the United States. The largest single use of phenol is as an intermediate in the production of phenolic resins and synthetic resins (Bakelite, one of the first synthetic resins to be manufactured, is a polymer of phenol with formaldehyde). It is also used in the production of caprolactam (which is used in the manufacture of nylon 6 and other synthetic fibers) and bisphenol A (which is used in the manufacture of epoxy and other resins). Phenol is also used as a slimicide (a chemical toxic to bacteria and fungi characteristic of aqueous slimes), and as weedkillers, disinfectant, and in medicinal preparations such as over-the-counter treatments for sore throats. It is one of the main components of the commercial antiseptic TCP. Phenol has anesthetic properties, and is the active ingredient in some oral anesthetics such as Chloraseptic? spray. It is also used in the production of drugs (it is the starting material in the industrial production of aspirin),

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC (see VOC's listed separatley in this database). Exposure of the skin to concentrated phenol solutions causes chemical burns which may be severe. Studies in humans and animals indicate that most of the phenol that enters the body through skin contact, breathing contaminated air, eating food or drinking water, or using products containing phenol, leaves the body in the urine within 24 hours. Short-term effects reported include respiratory irritation, headaches, and burning eyes. Chronic effects of high exposures included weakness, muscle pain, anorexia, weight loss, and fatigue. Effects of chronic low-level exposures include heart disease, and effects on the immune system. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considers phenol not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity in humans.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....
    » US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry....

Phthalates see PVC

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Cladding and roofing, wall coverings
Floors and Floor Coverings: Vinyl floor coverings
Insulation, membranes: Roofing membranes, Electrical insulation
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Pipe, plumbing and conduit fixtures, gutters, downpipes, landfill liners
Fixtures and furnishings: Window profiles, Outdoor furniture, fencing, balustrading.
Soft Furnishings: Upholstery, plastic curtains and tablecloths

Description:
Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are a group of chemical compounds that are mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility). They are chiefly used to turn polyvinyl chloride from a hard plastic into a flexible plastic.

Main component use:
In the European Union, possible concerns of five of the most widely used phthalates (DEHP, DBP, DINP, DIDP, and BBP) are in the process of being reviewed by the European Chemicals Bureau (ECB). Around 95% of DIDP and DINP is used in PVC as a plasticizer. More than half of the remaining 5% involves polymer-related uses other than PVC (e.g. rubbers). The remaining DIDP and DINP are used in non-polymer applications including anti-corrosion paints, anti-fouling paints, lacquers, inks, adhesives and sealants.

Health concerns and other detail:
Phthalates are known to leach out of PVC (see PVC). Phthalates are controversial because high doses of many phthalates have shown hormonal activity in rodent studies. Studies on rodents involving large amounts of phthalates have shown damage to the liver, the kidneys, the lungs and the developing testes. A joint Swedish-Danish research team found a very strong link between allergies in children and the phthalates. Upon birth of the children whose mother's urine had been previously measured, the genital features and anogenital distance were measured and correlated with the residue levels in the mother's urine. In boys, the highest levels of residue were seven times more likely to have a shortened anogenital distance. There was also a correlation between heightened residue levels and smaller penis sizes. The testes of boys with smaller penises were more likely to have testes that didn't descend properly into the scrotum. Suspected: Developmental Toxicant, Endocrine Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....
    » US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry....
    » GreenFacts is an "a.s.b.l.", a Belgian non-profit...

Polychlorinated Biphenols (PCB)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Imported paints,
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Adhesives
Insulation, membranes: Electric wire and cable insulations.

Description:
This is an organocholrine which is an organic compound containing at least one covalently bonded chlorine atom.

Main component use:
Although banned in many countries they might still appear in imported products. It can be found in flourescent tube balasts and they need to be disposed of carefully. Take care when removing old electrical wiring insulations as it may be made of PCB.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a carcinogenic VOC. Exposure results in eczema, skin rashes, discolouration of skin, respiratory problems, muscle and joint pains, headache, loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal pain. If inhaled or absorbed through the skin or stomach lining, PCB's are stored in the fatty tissue, liver, thyroid gland, kidneys, lungs, uterus and brain.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Baggs,Joan.'The Healthy House', 1996, Sydney Harper...

Polyethylene (Polyethene, polythene PE, HDPE, MDPE, LDPE, XLPE) HDPE: Recycled to become various bottles, grocery bags, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, base cups, car stops, playground equipment, and plastic lumber. LDPE: Recycled to become plastic bags, various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, and various moulded laboratory equipment.

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Flame Retardant Board, sheetings for cladding and internal walls and doors.
Insulation, membranes: Moisture and vapour barrier, Co2 Gas Membrane, Gas Barrier Film, Radon Membrane, Roof Protection
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Pipes, tubing
Fixtures and furnishings: Tables and outdoor furniture

Description:
Polyethylene is created through polymerization of ethene. Its name originates from the monomer ethene, also known as ethylene, used to create the polymer.

Main component use:
Polyethylene or polyethene is a thermoplastic commodity heavily used in consumer products (over 60M tons are produced worldwide every year). Polyethylene is classified into several different categories based mostly on its density and branching. The mechanical properties of PE depend significantly on variables such as the extent and type of branching, the crystal structure, and the molecular weight. Types are: UHMWPE (ultra high molecular weight PE) HDPE (high density PE) HDXLPE (high density cross-linked PE) PEX (cross-linked PE) MDPE (medium density PE) LDPE (low density PE) LLDPE (linear low density PE) VLDPE (very low density PE). It is a waxy thermoplastic (which means it can be repeatedly softened by heating). It is used for packaging, bottles, toys, as a timber product substitute, electric cable, pipes, and tubing. Best known use is plastic shopping bags. A large industry is evolving for the recycling and re-use of Polyethelene products.

Health concerns and other detail:
Stable, but breaks down slowly in uv light or sunlight. Incompatible with halogens, strong oxidizing agents, benzene, petroleum ether, aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons and lubricating oils. Powder shows some evidence of tumorigenic activity in laboratory animals, but not classified as a human carcinogen. Respiratory irritant.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Physical & Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory Oxford UK...

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, PETE, PETP,PET-P) See Ethylene Glycol Recycled to produce polyester fibres, thermoformed sheet, strapping, soft drink bottles.

Found in the following building materials:
Floors and Floor Coverings: Carpets
Insulation, membranes: Fibre fill
Soft Furnishings: Furniture

Description:
Polyethylene terephthalate is a thermoplastic resin of the polyester family. It is manufactured under trade names Arnite, Impet and Rynite, Ertalyte, Hostaphan, Melinex and Mylar films, and Dacron, Terylene and Trevira fibres. Antimony Oxide is often used as a catalyst.

Main component use:
The main virtue of PET is that it is fully recyclable. Unlike other plastics, its polymer chains can be recovered. It is used to make beverage, food and other liquid containers, synthetic fibres, as well as for some other thermoforming applications. It is also one of the most important raw materials used in man-made fibres. PET is often coated with aluminium to reduce its permeability, and to make it reflective and opaque. PET bottles are excellent barrier materials and are widely used for soft drinks. For certain specialty bottles, PET sandwiches an additional polyvinyl alcohol to further reduce its oxygen permeability. Cleaned, recycled PETE flakes and pellets are in great demand for spinning fibre for carpet yarns and producing fibrefill and geotextiles. Other applications include strapping and moulding compounds.

Health concerns and other detail:
Antimony trioxide (Sb2O3) is a catalyst that is often used in the production of PET. It remains in the material and can migrate out into food and drinks. Antimony trioxide is only weakly absorbed by the digestive system, and the main route of exposure is by inhalation of the dust. The elimination of antimony from the body is slow, leading to a risk of chronic toxicity. Acute poisoning is rare, and the signs are fairly non-characteristic (vomiting, abdominal pain, irritation of the mucous membranes, diarrhea, cardiac irregularities). Chronic poisoning by antimony trioxide is sometimes found in exposed workers. The main signs are irritation of the respiratory tract and of the skin and a characteristic pneumoconosis which is visible on chest X-rays. Antimony trioxide is known to pass into breast milk and to transverse the placenta. Exposed female workers have a higher incidence than usual of menstrual problems and of late-term miscarriages and their children may develop slower than usual during the first twelve months of life.The WHO is currently conducting studies.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Physical & Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory Oxford UK...

Polyolefin elastomers (POE, Thermoplastic polyolefin, TPO

Found in the following building materials:
Glues/ Adhesives : Adhesives
Floors and Floor Coverings: Indoor carpeting, indoor-outdoor rugs and carpets, carpet backing
Insulation, membranes: Electrical insulation
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Electrical cables
Fixtures and furnishings: Extruded and moulded furniture and fittings, Outdoor furniture,
Soft Furnishings: Pile fabrics, upholstery,

Description:
A polyolefin is a polymer produced from a simple olefin, or alkene as a monomer. For example, polyethylene is the polyolefin made from the olefin ethylene. The term elastomer is often used interchangeably with the term rubber.

Main component use:
Polyolefin elastomers are a relatively new class of polymers that emerged with recent advances in metallocene polymerisation catalysts. Representing one of the fastest growing synthetic polymers, POE?s can be substituted for a number of generic polymers including ethylene propylene rubbers (EPR or EPDM), ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), styrene-block copolymers (SBCs), and poly vinyl chloride (PVC). Polyolefin elastomers are compatible with most olefinic materials, are an excellent impact modifier for plastics, and offer unique performance capabilities for compounded products. Most commercially available polyolefin elastomers are copolymers of either ethylene-butene or ethylene-octene. A large industry is evolving for the recycling and re-use of Polyolefin products. Fibre can be composed of at least 85% polyethylene or polypropylene.

Health concerns and other detail:
None known. Flame retardant grades are available but those using organic halogen or phosphorus fire retardants must not be used because of the high smoke and toxic and corrosive fume emission, but grades using aluminium hydroxide as the fire retardant are

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » The A-Z of materials website. http://www.azom.com and...
    » California State University - Northridge....

Polypropylene (Polypropene, Propane, PP, XLPE) see Polyethylene Recycled into auto parts and industrial fibres.

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Anticorrosion Coatings
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Wall cladding, wall sheeting
Floors and Floor Coverings: Indoor and outdoor carpeting. Polypropylene fibre cement (Highbeam)
Insulation, membranes: Membranes
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Cooling towers, Glass Fibre Reinforced Polypropylene Tubes, Wastewater/ Sewer Discharge Pipes and Fittings, Electrical Cables when crossed with XLPE
Fixtures and furnishings: Bench tops

Description:
Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer and can be cross-linked with Polyethylene (XLPE).

Main component use:
Polypropylene is used in a wide variety of applications, including food packaging, textiles, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components, and polymer banknotes. It is unusually resistant to many chemical solvents, bases and acids. Polypropylene is used as a replacement for engineering plastics, such as ABS. Polypropylene has very good resistance to fatigue, so that most plastic hinges, such as those on flip-top bottles, are made from this material. It serves double duty, both as a plastic and as a fiber. As a plastic it's used to make things like dishwasher-safe food containers. It can do this because it doesn't melt below 160oC, or 320oF. As a fibre, polypropylene is used to make indoor-outdoor carpeting, the kind that you always find around swimming pools and miniature golf courses. It works well for outdoor carpet because it is easy to make coloured polypropylene, and because polypropylene doesn't absorb water, like nylon does. There is a growing trend to use Polypropylene in composites, i.e mixed with other fibres such as cement, timber and jute.

Health concerns and other detail:
None known. Flame retardant grades are available but those using organic halogen or phosphorus fire retardants must not be used because of the high smoke and toxic and corrosive fume emission, but grades using aluminium hydroxide as the fire retardant are produced which give acceptable fire performance and which are extensively used in the cable industry.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The use of plastics at CERN with respect to fire safety...

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, Teflon)

Found in the following building materials:
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Products made with Teflon? fluoropolymer resins have exceptional resistance to high temperatures, chemical reaction, corrosion, and stress-cracking. Teflon? industrial coatings spray on like paint and bake to a tough, inert finish.
Floors and Floor Coverings: DuPont? Teflon? surface protector for laminate, and hardwood flooring. DuPont? Teflon? Advanced is an aftermarket carpet protector.
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Pump valves and plumbing tape, DuPont? Teflon? fluoropolymer Cabling Materials
Soft Furnishings: DuPont? Teflon? fabric protector is invisible and does not change the texture or original look and feel of fabric. While forming a molecular shield around the fibres, Teflon? guards against oil- and water-based stains, dust and soil.

Description:
PTFE has the lowest coefficient of friction of any known solid material. Its melting point is 327 ?C, but its properties degrade above 260 ?C. It is strong, tough, waxy, non-flammable, chemically resistant, slippery surfaced and thermally stable.

Main component use:
PTFE is very non-reactive, and so is often used in containers and pipe work for reactive chemicals. Du Pont's Viton? is used in gaskets, bearings, linings for containers and pipes. Teflon? is made exclusively by Du Pont in non-stick cookware, cooking utensils, pump valves, plumbing tape. Zonyl? fluoro additives are part of the DuPont family of fluoropolymers. They are white, free-flowing PTFE powders designed for use as additives in other materials or systems. They differ from PTFE granular resins and fine powders because of the very small particle size ( typically in the range of 2 to 20 ?m), low molecular weight and the way they are handled and processed. They are used in Elastomers, in dynamic seals and coated rollers, for improved abrasion and tear resistance. Gore-Tex is a material incorporating Teflon? membrane with micropores.

Health concerns and other detail:
While Teflon itself is chemically inert and non-toxic, Teflon begins to deteriorate after the temperature of cookware reaches about 500?F (260?C), and begins to significantly decompose above 660?F (350?C). These degraded products can be lethal to birds, and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans (see Teflon flu). Empty cookware can exceed this temperature if left unattended on a hot burner. The US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) scientific advisory board found in 2005 that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical compound used to make Teflon, is a "likely carcinogen." PFOA is not part of the finished product of nonstick cookware or bakeware. It is only used during the manufacture of the product and only a trace amount of PFOA remains after the curing process, provided that it has been properly cured. Perfluoroisobutylene (PFIB) is an extremely toxic organofluoride that can be produced during making of tetrafluoroethylene polymers, including Teflon?. Inhalation of PFIB at very low concentrations causes acute lung injury, the hallmark of which is pulmonary oedema.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » California State University - Northridge....
    » Fluoride Action Network Pesticide Project US....

Polyurethane see Isocyanates, MDI

Found in the following building materials:
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Varnishes
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Fillers, floor sealants.
Glues/ Adhesives : Woodworking glues
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Domed ceilings and odd shapes and behind paper and metal claddings for thermal properties, sound deadening and rigidity
Timbers: Vaneers
Insulation, membranes: Thermal insulation
Fixtures and furnishings: Furniture (casting soft edges)
Soft Furnishings: Cushion Foams , cast-in-place upholstery padding, flexible foams, upholstery material, mattresses

Description:
Polyurethane is manufactured from MDI, polyol (alcohol sugars) and catalysts. The main polyurethane producing reaction is between a di-isocyanate (aromatic and aliphatic types are available) and a polyol, typically a polyethylene glycol or polyester polyol, in the presence of catalysts and materials for controlling the cell structure, (surfactants) in the case of foams.

Main component use:
Polyurethane can be made in a variety of densities and hardnesses by varying the type of monomer(s) used and adding other substances to modify their characteristics, notably density, or enhance their performance. Other additives can be used to improve the fire performance, stability in difficult chemical environments and other properties of the polyurethane products. Polyurethane products have many uses. Over three quarters of the global consumption of polyurethane products is in the form of foams, with flexible and rigid types being roughly equal in market size. In both cases, the foam is usually behind other materials. Fibres in common brand names include: Spandex clothing fibre, Lycra support hosiery, Numa , Spandelle and Vyrene. The manufacture of polyurethane foam uses the highly toxic toluene di-isocyanate, phenol and TNT.

Health concerns and other detail:
MDI is the main component of Polyurethane and the least hazardous of the commonly available isocyanates, as it has a very low vapour pressure. This makes handling it relatively safe. However, appropriate precautions should be taken. Floor sealants that are glossy, hard and brittle have high levels of toluene di-isocyanate - very toxic.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....
    » California State University - Northridge....

Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA, Vinyl Acetate)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Flat water thinned interior paint and tinting bases, Semi gloss, eggshell, satin water thinned interior paints and tinting bases, film-forming ingredient of water-based (latex) paints
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Synthetic resin, lacquers
Glues/ Adhesives : Rubber adhesives, wood glues "white glue" and yellow "carpenters glue".
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Cements
Floors and Floor Coverings: Carpet backings, Cements
Fixtures and furnishings: Furniture Adhesive Resins, Acrylic Fibre Manufacture, Impregnation Agents For Fibrous Materials
Soft Furnishings: Scatter rugs (6 x 9 ft) and bathmats

Description:
Polyvinyl acetate or PVA is a rubbery synthetic polymer. It is prepared by polymerization of vinyl acetate. Partial or complete hydrolysis of the polymer is used to prepare polyvinyl alcohol.

Main component use:
PVA is sold as an emulsion in water, and used as an adhesive for porous materials, particularly wood. It is the most commonly used wood glue, both as "white glue" and the yellow "carpenter's glue", the former also used extensively to glue other materials like paper and cloth. It can also be used to protect cheese from fungi and humidity.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC. Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health. It is a suspected: Carcinogen, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant and Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant. Exposure to products that contain vinyl acetate is through breathing air or drinking water that contain it. You can also be exposed to vinyl acetate by skin contact with products that were made with vinyl acetate, such as glues and paints. Exposure can also occur through ingestion of food items that were packaged in plastic films containing vinyl acetate or food items that contain vinyl acetate as a starch modifier. However, exposure to vinyl acetate occurs mostly in the workplace. Workers can breathe in the chemical when they are making it or using it to make other chemicals. Workers can also have skin contact with vinyl acetate solutions. It has been estimated that about 50,000 workers employed at about 5,000 plants are exposed to vinyl acetate in the United States.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....
    » US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry....

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC, uPVC, Vinyl chloride monomer, Polychloroethane) see Dioxins, Phthalates, Vinyl Chloride Recycled to become pipe, fencing, and non-food bottles.

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Cladding and roofing, wall coverings
Floors and Floor Coverings: Vinyl floor coverings
Insulation, membranes: Roofing membranes, Electrical insulation
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Pipe, plumbing and conduit fixtures, gutters, downpipes, landfill liners
Fixtures and furnishings: Window profiles, Outdoor furniture, fencing, balustrading.
Soft Furnishings: Upholstery, plastic curtains and tablecloths

Description:
Polyvinyl chloride is produced by polymerization of the monomer, vinyl chloride. PVC is a hard plastic that is made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely used being phthalates. Pipes are made from rigid PVC or unplasticised PVC (u-PVC).

Main component use:
In terms of revenue generated, PVC is one of the most valuable products of the chemical industry. Globally, over 50% of PVC manufactured is used in construction. u-PVC, known as rigid PVC is unplastised (may not contain as much phalates) and not as toxic. PVC is well known internationally as a problem because of its high chlorine content and the cocktail of additives required to make it usable. Approximately 90% of PVC pipes or conduits are used to carry either waste and drainage or electricity and electronic information. Lead or tin stabilisers are often used in pipes, and red-brown pipes contain lead pigments. u-PVC manufactured in Australia is free of heavy metals, meeting Australian Standards. All PVC can be replaced with superior products made from alternative materials. The US EPA has reported that vinyl chloride emissions from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), ethylene dichloride (EDC), and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plants cause air pollution increasing mortality through serious illness although there are reports through the US Green Building Council that this has subsided in teh US. None the less, Greenpeace has advocated the global phase-out of PVC because they claim dioxin is produced as a byproduct of vinyl chloride manufacture and from incineration of waste PVC in domestic garbage.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC (see defintion of VOC in this database). Vinyl Chloride is currently listed in the RoC as known to be a human carcinogen. It's production is inherently a source of dioxins, a highly toxic substance that can cause cancer and other illnesses in humans even at very low exposure levels. The manufacture of PVC in Australia is highly regulatedand the known health risks are minimal. When PVC burns it produces suffocating hydrogene chloride gas which is burning and blinding when it comes into contact with eyes or any mucus membrane. In fire emergencies it can be the fumes from the plastic that kills people. Governments have a duty of care to ensure large public buildings are PVC free . Some of the additives and plasticizers such as phthalates can leach out of certain vinyl products. Vinyl IV bags used in neo-natal intensive care units have also been shown to leach DEHP (Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate). In January 2006, the European Union placed a ban on six types of phthalate softeners in toys (See directive 2005/84/EC). Plasticizers added to PVC may cause chronic conditions such as scleroderma, cholangiocarcinoma, angiosarcoma, brain cancer, and acrosteolysis.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Mobbs, Michael. 'Sustainable House' Ed (2004) Sydney,...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » National Toxicology Programme; US Department of Health...
    » Plastics Industry Pipes Association of Australia
    »
US Green Building Council:

PolyVinylidine DiFluoride ( PVDF)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Base resin in liquid coatings formulated by leading paint manufacturers
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Base resin in liquid coatings formulated by leading paint manufacturers
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Baked Kynar 500? resin based coatings on metal siding and roofing, storefront extrusions, curtain walls, louvers, skylights and other miscellaneous metal trim and extrusions.
Insulation, membranes: Membranes, filter housings, piping insulation, corrosion resistance.
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Pipes, tubing, conduits, tanks, vessels

Description:
PVDF is a highly non-reactive and pure thermoplastic fluoropolymer. It is also known as KYNAR? produced by Arkema Pty Ltd .

Main component use:
PVDF is very expensive. Itis use is generally reserved for applications requiring the highest purity, strength, and resistance to solvents, acids, bases and heat. It is available as piping products, sheet, plate and an insulator for premium wire. It can be injection molded and welded and is commonly used in the chemical, semiconductor, medical and defense industries.

Health concerns and other detail:
The toxicity data available on this product from the KYNAR? MSDS indicate that the material is practically non-toxic when given orally (rat LD50 6,000 mg/kg) and causes minimal or no biological response upon subchronic contact or prolonged implantation in tissues. Various solvent extracts of this product also caused no adverse reactions in animals. Thermal decomposition of polymers will generate hydrogen fluoride (HF) at 600 degrees F (315 degrees C). Hydrogen fluoride is toxic and can be fatal if even small amounts are ingested or absorbed through the skin. HF burns require immediate treatment beginning with washing with water but specialized care is indicated. Entry routes include inhalation, ingestion, skin and eyes. The lowering of serum calcium (hypocalcemia) is one of the most serious consequences of HF exposure. As the free fluorine ion penetrates the skin it binds serum calcium forming cellular calcium fluoride (CaF2). This has effects on nerve conduction and can lead to extreme throbbing pain, metabolic changes, and even death.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    »
Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Polyvinyl Fluoride (PVF)

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Protective films for metal sheeting such as aluminium and steel claddings.
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Protective films for pipes

Description:
Polyvinyl Fluoride is a thermoplastic fluoropolymer. It is resistant to attack by chemicals or by weathering. Vinyl Fluoride is used in the production of polyvinyl fluoride.

Main component use:
Polyvinyl fluoride is laminated as a protective layer onto outdoor surfaces such as solar collectors, solar panels, and metal sheeting (alumium, steel), glazing panels, surface covering for PVC film. Film covering in aircraft interiors to reduce flammability.

Health concerns and other detail:
Vinyl Fluoride is currently listed in the RoC as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » California State University - Northridge....
    » National Toxicology Programme; US Department of Health...

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

Found in the following building materials:
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Resins
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Sealants
Glues/ Adhesives : Adhesives
Timbers: Preservative
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Plastics
Fixtures and furnishings: Plastics

Health concerns and other detail:
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes. Because of this, they have been observed to persist in the environment, to be capable of long-range transport, bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue, biomagnify in food chains, and to have potential significant impacts on human health and the environment. In May 1995, the UNEP Governing Council (GC) decided to begin investigating POPs, initially beginning with a short list of the following twelve POPs: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, and toxaphene. Since then, this list has generally been accepted to include such substances as carcinogenic PAHs and certain brominated flame-retardants, as well as some organometallic compounds such as tributyltin (TBT). The groups of compounds that make up POPs are also classed as PBTs (Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic) or even TOMPs (Toxic Organic Micro Pollutants.)

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Sodium Silicate (water glass, mineral glass)

Found in the following building materials:
Glues/ Adhesives : Adhesive
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Use of Palusol? in glazing
Timbers: Timber preservation
Floors and Floor Coverings: Concrete, Stucco as a plaster porosity reducer making them more wearable and water repellent.
Insulation, membranes: Insulation boards for refactories
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Use of Palusol? for fireproof bulkheads in pipes, cabling and ventilation systems.
Fixtures and furnishings: Use of Palusol? for fire doors

Description:
Sodium silicate, also known as water glass or liquid glass, available in liquid and solid (prill) form, is a compound used in cements, passive fire protection, refractories (bricks, formed cement aggregates, ceramic fibres) textile and lumber processing.

Main component use:
Sodium Silicate preserves wood from moisture and insects and possesses some flame-retardant properties and is considered a safer alternative to chromated copper arsenate (CCA). A Sodium Silicate solution helps to significantly reduce porosity in most masonry products such as concrete, stucco, plasters making them far more wearable and water repellent. Sodium silicates are intumescent (swell). The solid sheet form (Palusol fire protection panels) must be waterproofed to ensure longterm functionality. Water glass is a useful binder of solids, such as vermiculite and perlite and when blended can be used to make hard, high-temperature insulation boards used for refractories, passive fire protection and high temperature insulations, such as moulded pipe insulation applications. When mixed with finely divided mineral powders, such as vermiculite dust it can produce high temperature adhesives. The swelling disappears in the presence of finely divided mineral dust, whereby the waterglass becomes a mere matrix. Waterglass is inexpensive and abundantly available, which makes its use popular in many applications.

Health concerns and other detail:
None known

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Silicones

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Allied paint products, including brush cleaners
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Synthetic resins
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Sealants
Glues/ Adhesives : Rubber Adhesives

Description:
Silicones, or polysiloxanes, are inorganic polymers. Silicones are odourless, colourless, water resistant, chemical resistant, oxidation resistant, stable at high temperature, and do not conduct electricity.

Main component use:
Silicones can be synthesized into a wide variety of materials. They can vary in consistency from liquid to gel to rubber to hard plastic. The most common type is a silicon oil called linear polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS. The second largest group of silicone materials is based on silicone resins. They have many uses, such as lubricants, adhesives, sealants, gaskets, breast implants, pressure compensating diaphragms for drip irrigation emitters, dishware, Silly Putty, and many other products. Due to their thermal stability and relatively high melting and boiling points, silicones are often used where organic polymers are not applicable. Their unreactivity generally makes them non-toxic. Simethicone, a silicone-based anti-foaming agent, has remained available as an over-the-counter substance and food additive

Health concerns and other detail:
Very stable and inert, low toxicity. Potential toxicity comes from additives. A controversy developed during the 1990s around allegations that silicone in breast implants was responsible for several diseases. Health concerns included pain, deformity and the less obviously related connective tissue disorders (eg. scleroderma, arthritis) and chronic fatigue syndrome. Leakage of silicone from implants could be demonstrated easily but proof of its safety or otherwise was lacking. The Dow Corning corporation declared bankruptcy and settled several class actions globally. Later evidence emerged clearing silicone of causing connective tissue disease. Silicone implants have been removed from the market in some countries (notably the US) because of the silicone controversy, but are extensively used elsewhere.

Sources - see information sources for details:

Styrene (Cinnamene, Styrol, Polystyrene, Phenylethylene, Vinyl Benzene, Styrene Butadiene Rubbers, SBR) see ABS and Benzene Recycled into a wide range of products including office accessories, cafeteria trays, toys, video cassettes and cases, insulation board and styrofoam.

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Paints
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: 2 part fillers
Floors and Floor Coverings: Synthetic rubber underlay
Insulation, membranes: Insulation, Electrical Insulator
Soft Furnishings: Blinds, Textiles

Description:
It is produced in industrial quantities from petroleum using the catalytic dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene. It is also produced from propylene oxide where ethylbenzene is reacted with oxygen to form the hydroperoxide of ethylbenzene. This hydroperoxide is then used to oxidize propylene to propylene oxide. The resulting phenylethanol is dehydrated to give styrene.

Main component use:
Styrene is the first man-made polymer. It is used in the production of polystyrene, acrylonitrile-butadiene- styrene resins, styrene butadiene rubbers, latexes and unsaturated polystyrene resins, SIS (styrene-isoprene-styrene), S-EB-S (styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene), styrene-divinylbenzene (S-DVB), and unsaturated polyesters.These materials are used in rubber, plastic, insulation, fiberglass, pipes, automobile parts, food containers, and carpet backing. Uses for Styrofoam? include cups, grocery store meat trays, fast-food sandwich containers, video cassette cases, compact disk jackets, cafeteria trays and refrigerator insulation.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC. Skin irritant, central nervous system damage, mutagen and possible carcinogen. Mucous membrane irritant, damages reproductive organs. IARC 2 finding of limited evidence of carcinogenicity in animals and limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans (Vol. 82, 2002).

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Mobbs, Michael. 'Sustainable House' Ed (2004) Sydney,...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » California State University - Northridge....

Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene, perc, PCE, and Tetrachloroethene)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Aerosol paint concentrates, Paints and allied products
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Paint and varnish removers, Synthetic resin
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Non-structural caulking compounds and sealants
Glues/ Adhesives : Rubber adhesives
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Wall coverings
Floors and Floor Coverings: Rubber floors
Soft Furnishings: Leather dressings and finishes, Textile finishes

Description:
Most tetrachloroethylene is produced from ethylene via 1,2-dichloroethane. When 1,2-dichloroethane is heated to 400?C with chlorine, tetrachloroethylene is produced by the chemical reaction. It evaporates easily into the air and has a sharp, sweet odour. Most people can smell tetrachloroethylene when it is present in the air at a concentration of 1 part per million (1 ppm), although some can smell it at even lower levels.

Main component use:
Widely used for the dry cleaning of fabrics and for metal-degreasing. It is also used to make other chemicals and is used in some consumer products including paint strippers and spot removers.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC and known carcinogenic. It is ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health. Like many chlorinated hydrocarbons, tetrachloroethylene is a central nervous system depressant, and inhaling its vapors (particularly in closed, poorly ventilated areas) can cause dizziness, headache, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty in speaking and walking, unconsciousness, and death. After repeated or extended skin contact, tetrachloroethylene may dissolve fats from the skin, resulting in severe skin irritation in work environments. Tetrachloroethylene is a common soil contaminant resulting from spillage, overfilling, or sewer leakage at commercial dry cleaning facilities. In groundwater, its density causes it to sink below the water table. Cleanup activities tend to be especially problematic.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....
    » Baggs,Joan.'The Healthy House', 1996, Sydney Harper...

Titanium Dioxide (Titania, Ti02, Rutile, Titanium oxide, Titanium peroxide)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Pigment for white paint, Flat water thinned interior and exterior paints and tinting bases, aerosol paint concentrates, semi gloss, eggshell, satin water thinned paints and tinting bases, Water thinned exterior and interior under coaters and primers
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Water thinned exterior stains
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Caulks, modified and unmodified oil base, General performance sealants (PVAC, butyl, vinyl, etc.), Specialty performance sealants
Glues/ Adhesives : Preformed tapes (butyl, polybutene, polyisobutylene, etc.)
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Coating on claddings for UV protection.
Floors and Floor Coverings: Cement, Tiles
Fixtures and furnishings: Windows and self cleaning glazing

Description:
Titanium dioxide is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium. When used as a pigment, it is called titanium white.

Main component use:
Titanium Dioxide is used for sterilizing, deodorizing and anti-fouling properties and is also used as a hydrolysis catalyst. TiO2 is also an effective opacifier in powder form, where it is employed as a pigment to provide whiteness and opacity to products such as cements, paints, coatings, plastics, windows, tiles, papers, inks, foods, and most toothpastes. In cosmetic and skin care products, titanium dioxide is used both as a pigment and a thickener, and in almost every sunblock. Titanium dioxide is found because of its refractive index and its resistance to discoloration under ultraviolet light. As TiO2 is exposed to UV light, it becomes increasingly hydrophilic, thus it can be used for anti-fogging coatings or self-cleaning windows. TiO2 incorporated into outdoor building materials can substantially reduce concentrations of airborne pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and NOx. It causes major ecological impacts as it is sourced primarily from sand mining, an extremely ecologically damaging process affecting sensitive coastal dune systems.

Health concerns and other detail:
There are recent concerns about the health risks of Titanium Doixide nanoparticles. The substance can be absorbed into the body through the skin and by inhalation of its aerosol. This can cause lung fibrosis and it is a suspected carcinogenic. The AELA (Architectural Coating Standards) states the TiO2 levels of paints should not exceed 40g/m2 of dry finished film thickness of overall recommended number of coats.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....
    » National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety US...
    » Kinternational Chemical Safety Card for Titanium Dioxide...

Toluene (methylbenzene, phenylmethane, toluol, antisal 1A, CP 25, methacide, methylbenzol

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Paints, paint thinners, Aerosol paint concentrates, Architectural coatings, allied paint products, including brush cleaners, Paint thinners, Solvent thinned exterior stains incl shingle and shake, Solvent thinned exterior and interior under coaters and pr
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Paint and varnish removers, Solvent thinned interior stains, Synthetic resin
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Non-structural caulking compounds and sealants, Specialty performance sealants, Surfactants, finishing agents, and assistants
Glues/ Adhesives : Rubber, adhesives, Phenolic and phenolic derivative adhesives, Polyvinyl acetate (latex type) adhesives, Urethane adhesives
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Wall coverings
Floors and Floor Coverings: Sheet vinyl flooring, Waterproofing compounds
Fixtures and furnishings: Industrial particleboard (furniture, fixtures, cabinets, etc.), Non-wood upholstered office side and arm chairs, Wood office furniture, Wood office work surfaces (modular systems)
Soft Furnishings: Leather tanners, Scatter rugs, bathmats, and sets (rugs 6 x 9 ft and smaller)

Description:
Toluene is a clear, water-insoluble liquid with the typical smell of paint thinners, reminiscent of the sweet smell of the related compound benzene.

Main component use:
Predominantly used as a solvent. Used to make chemicals (examples: benzene, toluene di-isocyanate, benzoic acid), explosives, dyes and many other compounds. Used as a solvent for inks, paints, lacquers, resins, cleaners, glues and adhesives. Found in gasoline and aviation fuel. It is a raw material for toluene diisocyanate (used in the manufacture of polyurethane foam), phenol and TNT. Toluene can be used as an octane booster in gasoline fuels used in internal combustion engines.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC. Main route of exposure is through ambient air, particularly areas of heavy traffic and around filling stations, also from areas where solvents are used, near cigarettes and glue sniffing. Toluene vapour is mildly irritating to the nose, throat and eyes. Inhalation of high vapour concentrations (greater than 200 ppm for 8 hours) affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include tiredness, muscle weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion, poor coordination, nausea and vomiting. Massive over-exposures have resulted in loss of consciousness and death. Liver injury has been reported in survivors of serious over-exposures. Prolonged skin contact can cause dry, irritated skin. Conditions can also included aplastic anaemia, cardiac sensitivity, cerebellar dystropy, hepatic damage, learning capacity decrease, mutagenisis, neural dystrophy, prenatal damage, phagocytic activity of leukocytes depression, serum albumin depression, adrenal hypertrophy and plasma hydrocorticoid elevation.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The National Toxics Network (NTN) is a community based...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Trichloroethylene

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Aerosol paint concentrates, paint-related products, Paint and varnish removers
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Synthetic resin
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: General performance sealants (PVAC, butyl, vinyl, etc.)
Glues/ Adhesives : Rubber adhesives
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Integrated Iron and Steel Manufacturing - steel solvent
Floors and Floor Coverings: Sheet vinyl flooring
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Pipes and pipe fittings

Description:
The chemical compound trichloroethylene is a chlorinated hydrocarbon. It is a clear non-flammable liquid with a sweet smell.

Main component use:
Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health. Used as a solvent for metal degreasing, natural and synthetic resins, oils, waxes, tar and alkaloids; for adhesives and coatings; for textile-dyeing operations; used in dry-cleaning operations; cleaning electrical machinery; coolant and lubricant in metal-cutting oils; and as extraction solvent and chemical intermediate in the chemical industry. In recent times, there has been a substantial reduction in the production output of trichloroethylene; alternatives for use in metal degreasing abound, chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons being phased out in a large majority of industries due to the potential for irreversible health effects and the legal liability that ensues as a result.

Health concerns and other detail:
Organochlorine compounds such as trichloroethylene present a potentially serious environmental liability given their great resistance to natural degradation and their high marine toxicity. It is current categorized as IARC 2A, analogous to trichloromethane?reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Humans can be exposed dermally and by inhalation of air at occupational sites, from ambient air, household products containing 1,1,1-Trichloroethane (cleansers, polishes, lubricants, paint removers) or ingestion of contaminated food and water. Due to concerns about its toxicity, the use of trichloroethylene in the food and pharmaceutical industries has been banned in much of the world since the 1970s. Acute exposure to high levels of 1,1,1- trichloroethane can depress the nervous system and cause headache, dizziness and fatigue. At high levels 1,1,1- trichloroethane can cause unconsciousness, respiratory depression and death. Ingestion can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation characterized by vomiting and diarrhea. Contact with eyes or skin can result in mild irritation. Other acute exposure effects are renal and hepatic damage.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The National Toxics Network (NTN) is a community based...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Triclosan

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: TOA?s SuperShield with Microban?, SuperShield DuraClean, SuperShield All and SuperShield Polyurethane Extra coatings to fight the growth of bacteria, mould and mildew that can cause stains, odours and deterioration of the paint.
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: ABA Flexgrout cement-based, for tiles. Dunlop adhesives and sealants includes cementitious and epoxy tile grouts, and silicone sealants. NovTek tile grout joint filler, cement-based tile grout.
Glues/ Adhesives : Dunlop adhesives and sealants includes cementitious and epoxy tile grouts, and silicone sealants, especially formulated with built-in Microban?
Floors and Floor Coverings: Acrylicon? industrial flooring systems are the foremost European manufacturers and installers of hygienic, easy to clean Methyl Methacrylate.
Soft Furnishings: DOMO? manufactures a wide range of vinyl cushion floors, needlefelt, carpet tiles, mats, rugs and runners.

Description:
Triclosan (chemically 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol) is a potent wide spectrum antibacterial and antifungal agent. This organic compound is a white powdered solid with a slight aromatic/phenolic odor. It is a chlorinated aromatic compound which has functional groups representative of both ethers and phenols.

Main component use:
It is found in soaps, deodorants, toothpastes and is impregnated in an increasing number of consumer products, such as kitchen utensils, toys, bedding, socks, and trash bags. It has been shown to be effective in reducing and controlling bacterial contamination on the hands and on treated products. Triclosan is used in many common household products including Dentyl? mouthwash, Colgate Total Fresh Stripe?, Colgate Total?, Dial?, Sensodyne Total Care?, and Mentadent?. Microban? is a product that is combined in many building materials as an antifungal/ antibacterial that is made using Triclosan.

Health concerns and other detail:
Reports have suggested that triclosan can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform gas (PMID 15926568), which the U.S. EPA classifies as a probable human carcinogen. As a result, triclosan was the target of a UK cancer alert, even though the study showed that the amount of chloroform generated was less than amounts often present in chlorinated drinking waters. Triclosan reacts with the free chlorine in tap water to also produce lesser amounts of other compounds, like 2,4-dichlorophenol (PMID 15926568). Most of these intermediates convert into dioxins upon exposure to UV radiation (from the sun or other sources). Triclosan is chemically somewhat similar to the dioxin class of compounds. Its production leads to small amounts of residual polychlorinated dioxins, and polychlorinated furans which are contained in small amounts in the products that are using it.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....

Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride (u-PVC ) see Polyvinyl Chloride

Found in the following building materials:
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Window frames, fascias, soffits and bargeboards
Floors and Floor Coverings: Floor tiles
Insulation, membranes: Cable or wire insulation
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Pipes and pipe fittings, tanks
Fixtures and furnishings: Windows, doors and shutters

Description:
This is a thermoplastic. Unplasticised PVC that does not contain phthalates.?

Main component use:
Also known as a rigid PVC, it is considered a slightly environmentally safer form of PVC because it doesn't have phthalates (see Phthalates separately listed in this database). It is used in most applications that PVC products are used, although its rigidity limits this mostly to items such as windows and other frames, guttering, rigid piping, tanks. ??

Health concerns and other detail:
Due to environmental reasons, the use of this PVC has been outlawed in Germany. The US EPA reports that vinyl chloride emissions from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), ethylene dichloride (EDC), and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plants cause air pollution increasing mortality through serious illness. Greenpeace has advocated the global phase-out of PVC because they claim dioxin is produced as a byproduct of vinyl chloride manufacture and from incineration of waste PVC in domestic garbage.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org

Vegetable turpentine (Turpentine Oil, Wood turpentine, Spirit of Turpentine, Gum turpentine)

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Thinning oil based paints, cleaning brushes
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Producing varnishes
Fixtures and furnishings: Wax and polishers

Description:
Turpentine is a fluid obtained by the complex distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly various species of Pine. It is composed of terpenes, mainly the monoterpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. Boiling in large tubs takes place at 155 degrees Celsius to obtain turpentine oil.

Main component use:
Its industrial use as a solvent in industrialized nations have largely been replaced by the much cheaper turpentine substitutes (Mineral Turpentine) distilled from crude oil. The two primary uses of turpentine in industry are as a solvent and as a source of material for organic synthesis mostly fragrant chemical compounds in camphor and menthol and many cleaning and sanitary products due to its antiseptic properties and its "clean scent". As a solvent, turpentine is used for thinning oil-based paints and producing varnishes. Turpentine oil is used in ointments, wax, polishes and similar products. Commercially used camphor, linalool, alpha-terpineol, and geraniol are all usually produced from alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, which are two of the chief chemical components of turpentine. These pinenes are separated and purified by distillation. The mixture of diterpenes and triterpenes that is left as residue after terpentine distillation is sold as rosin.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC. It is easily absorbed through the lungs, gastrointestinal tract and through the skin. Inhalation of vapours leads to headache, dizziness, intoxication and seizures. It can burn the skin and eyes, damage the lungs and respiratory system, as well as the central nervous system when inhaled, and cause renal failure when ingested, among other things. At very high concentrations there may be fainting and death. It is highly flammable.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Danish Environmental Protection Agency. Vegetable...

Vinyl chloride (monomer styrene) see Polyvinyl Chloride, Styrene

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Paints
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Two part fillers
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Cladding, conservatory frames
Floors and Floor Coverings: Vinyl floor coverings/ synthetic rubber underlays
Fixtures and furnishings: Blinds
Soft Furnishings: Textiles

Description:
Vinyl chloride is a colourless gas. It burns easily and it is not stable at high temperatures. It has a mild, sweet odour.

Main component use:
Ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health. Its major use in construction is through PVC (see Polyvinyl Chloride listed separately in this database).

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC. This monomer of PVC is a known and persistent carcinogen (see Polyvinyl Chloride listed separately in this database).

Sources - see information sources for details:

VOCs - Volatile Organic Compounds

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Paints and paint thinners
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Lacquers and varnishes
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Caulking fillers and sealants
Glues/ Adhesives : Glues and adhesives
Walls, Wall frames, Ceilings, Roofing: Building boards and composite timbers
Timbers: Wood preservatives
Floors and Floor Coverings: Some carpets, vinyl and plasticised PVC
Insulation, membranes: All plasticised PVC products
Conduits, piping, plumbing: All plasticised PVC products
Fixtures and furnishings: Vinyl, Plasticised PVC
Soft Furnishings: Vinyl, plasticised PVC, fabric dressing

Description:
A range of chemical substances that become waterborne and airborne or volatile at room temperature.

Main component use:
The term encompasses a very large and diverse group of carbon-containing compounds, including aliphatic, aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons; aldehydes; ethers; esters; acids; alcohols and ketones. Examples of VOCs include benzene, chlorobenzene, ethylbenzene, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), carbon tetrachloride, formaldehyde, halons (chlorine, fluorine), styrene, toluene, vinyl chloride, xylene, methylene chloride and some pesticides. Many of these chemical compounds are listed separately in this database. VOCs are found in many products including paints, adhesives, building board and composite timber, fabric dressing, lacquers, some foams, some carpets and vinyl/plasticised PVC.

Health concerns and other detail:
VOC's 'gas out' at room temperatures and the rate increases in higher humid temperatures. Benzene and products of benzene (chlorobenzene, ethylbenzene, styrene, toluene, and xylene) are known cancer causing toxins and are Group 1 carcinogens (IARC). Formaldehyde is also classified as a group 1 carcinogen. See the health concerns listed for these chemicals.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The 'Ecospecifier' website is a not-for-profit...
    » The National Toxics Network (NTN) is a community based...
    » Australian Government National Health and Medical...
    » US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry....
    » National Toxicology Programme; US Department of Health...
    » Baggs,Joan.'The Healthy House', 1996, Sydney Harper...
    » Australian Government Dept. of Health and Aging: NICNAS a...

Xylene

Found in the following building materials:
Paints & Products: Aerosol paint concentrates, Architectural coatings, Industrial interior coatings, paint-related products, allied paint products, including brush cleaners, Paint thinners, Solvent thinned exterior stains incl shingle and shake, Solvent thinned exterior und
Resins, Varnishes and Stains : Paint and varnish removers, Rubber and synthetic resin combinations, Solvent thinned interior clear finishes, Solvent thinned interior stains, Solvent thinned interior under coaters and primers
Caulking/ Fillers/ Sealants etc: Caulks, modified and unmodified oil base, General performance sealants (PVAC, butyl, vinyl, etc.), Non-structural caulking compounds and sealants, Specialty performance sealants
Glues/ Adhesives : Polyurethane glues, Epoxy adhesives, Preformed tapes (butyl, polybutene, polyisobutylene, etc.), Rubber and synthetic resin combinations
Timbers: Waterproofing compounds
Floors and Floor Coverings: Carpets, Waterproofing compounds
Conduits, piping, plumbing: Cooling tower compounds
Fixtures and furnishings: Industrial particleboard (furniture, fixtures, cabinets, etc.), Wood office work surfaces (modular systems)
Soft Furnishings: Textile finishes

Description:
The term xylene refers to a group of 3 benzene derivatives, which encompasses ortho-, meta-, and para- isomers of dimethyl benzene. Xylene contains toluene, trimethylbenzenes, benzene and other hydrocarbons. It is a colourless, sweet-smelling liquid that is very flammable. It occurs naturally in petroleum and coal tar and is formed during forest fires.

Main component use:
Chemical industries produce xylene from petroleum. It is one of the top 30 chemicals produced in the United States in terms of volume. Xylene is used as a solvent in the dyes, printing, rubber, leather and pharmaceuticals industries. p-Xylene is used as a feedstock in the production of terephthalic acid, which is a monomer used in the production of polymers (plastics). It is also used as a cleaning agent, a pesticide, a thinner for paint, and in paints and varnishes, lacquers, resins. It is found in small amounts in airplane fuel and gasoline.

Health concerns and other detail:
This is a VOC. Inhalation is the primary concern in areas of heavy traffic, filling stations, industrial refineries or where solvents are manufactured. Another concern is the contamination of water supplies (leaking underground petrol tanks). It is also found in agricultural sprays, wood burning stoves & fires, glue for wallpaper and carpet. Xylene is a fat solvent that causes Central Nervous System dysfunction and destruction of other tissues. One of earliest effects of exposure to xylene is an increase in liver enzymes. Other effects of single or short term exposure include irritation of nose, throat and eyes, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, light headedness, irritability, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, reduced coordination, loss of consciousness. Other acute exposure effects include amnesia, brain hemorrhage, cardiac stress, dermatitis, liver and kidney damage, respiratory difficulties, tremor and the presence of xylene in blood and exhaled air.

Sources - see information sources for details:
    » The National Toxics Network (NTN) is a community based...
    » Online Encyclopaedia. http://en.wikipedia.org
    » Scorecard -The Pollution Information Site - USA....