The Safer Insulation Solution, a team of building, design, and fire safety professionals, scientists, and others, has submitted two proposals to change the 2018 IBC. These proposals would enable safe use of foam plastic insulation without flame retardants in certain building applications. To support these proposals, you can send a letter of support, and you can testify at code hearings. Architects, designers, code officials, contractors, installers, specifiers, building owners, facility engineers, and other stakeholders are encouraged to contact Avery Lindeman at [email protected] to learn more and get involved
The other avenue for making lasting change is at the legislative level (federal, state, or local). One example is a 2013 state Assembly Bill in California (AB127), which required the state Fire Marshal to evaluate and possibly update flammability standards for building insulation materials. The outcome of that process is expected later this year.
Thanks to an increasing awareness of the health hazards of flame retardant chemicals, as well as the lack of fire safety benefit these chemicals sometimes provide, regulations, codes, and standards are evolving to better protect human and ecological health. We can all support this process by demanding fire safety with fewer unnecessary flame retardants.
About the Authors
Arlene Blum, PhD
Chemist and mountaineer, Arlene is also executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute. The Institute works to implement and support chemical policies protecting human health and the global environment. This work has contributed to stopping the use of tens of millions of pounds of toxic flame retardants. Blum’s many awards include being named one of 100 “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet” (National Women’s History Project).
Suzanne is an interior designer with Perkins+Will, and co-chairs the firm-wide Healthy Materials Task Force. Her career has focused on commercial interiors, specializing in creating healthy environments and green interiors. She draws on nearly two decades of supporting client initiatives and environmental goals. Her book EcoSoul: Save the Planet and Yourself by ReThinking your Everyday Habits was published in 2013.
With over 30 years of experience in sustainable design, planning, and interior design, Jean is responsible for advancing HDR’s sustainability initiatives globally in project and research work for healthcare and institutional environments. She has worked on the development of many nationally recognized sustainable resources, some of which include the USGBC’s LEED Healthcare rating system, Green Guide for Health Care, BIFMA’s level, and more recently, the Health Product Declaration (HPD).
Judy leads the Center for Environmental Health’s flame retardant campaign. She works closely with large purchasers on how to use their purchasing power to move the market towards safer products. Judy has developed a series of resources for purchasers including purchasing guides for flame retardant-free products, model procurement language, specification guidelines, and letters for suppliers. Most recently, Judy helped author a flame retardant disclosure bill in California.