The Signal: News and Notes from the Pharos Team

DENVER -- Polycarbonate made without bisphenol-A.   Eliminating formaldehyde-based binders in laminates and particleboard.  Producing chemical building blocks, like ethylene and butanol, from agriculture, not petrochemicals.  Transparency in material content disclosure. 

These ideas would be expected in a green chemistry symposium. But these were workshop topics at this week’s spring convention of the Adhesive and Sealant Council (ASC).  Ideas about how to achieve sustainable production through reformulations dominated the discussions.

The meeting of big-time raw material suppliers and formulators left me feeling that we have reached an inflection point.   Environmental and human health considerations have shifted from the realms of theory and advocacy into innovative application.

This transformation in...

Every organization has its shorthand, and here at the Pharos Project our Chemical and Material Library (CML) is affectionately referred to in-house as “the camel.”  Not unlike its mammalian cousin, the CML serves as a valuable resource for chemical intelligence in what can sometimes feel like an informational desert.  The CML screens 22,000 chemicals, materials, and biobased ingredients against more than 40 authoritative lists of health and environmental warnings to provide users with a summary of expected direct health and environmental hazards, and a breakdown of hazards associated with each substance’s life cycle.

With the launch of Pharos version 2 (v2), the CML has been rebuilt and relaunched with faster searches, more chemical information, and new features to improve the user experience.

Pharos now tracks twice as many health and environmental endpoints as it used to, informed in part by the ...

Originally published in GreenSpec Insights

When building products carry different green certifications, how do you know which product is best? Maybe there is a way to compare apples and oranges.

As green certifications and labels have proliferated, so has greenwash. Even among legitimate certifications, conflicts and inconsistency have made them hard to understand.

How do you cut through the cacophony and get the information you want? The Pharos Project has independently organized information on about 48 major product certifications and products that carry those labels.

Start by finding products

If you want products certified to a...

What is Pharos?  How can I use Pharos to find healthy materials?  What’s behind the product scores?  Where does the data come from?  We’ll be answering these questions and more in a series of upcoming webinars designed to help Pharos subscribers, potential subscribers, and participating manufacturers understand what Pharos is about and how to navigate the system to best suit your needs.  Click on the registration links below to sign up.

Choosing Healthier Building Materials:  Introducing the Pharos Project
Wednesday, April 11 at 2pm ET

  • Discover how you can be involved in the market transformation toward healthy building materials, and how Pharos can help you find materials that meet your environmental and health criteria.


published in Healthy Building News, 4/2/12

Mud season has just passed in Vermont. That is the time of year when our pastoral dirt roads, frozen since last November, begin to thaw, from the top down. The frozen underlayer traps the water above, creating mud. Deep, sticky, Prius-swallowing mud. To traverse our "dirt" roads in March you need the right equipment: a four-wheel drive vehicle and high rubber boots, just in case. Otherwise, you will get stuck, wreck your car, and probably your shoes too.

This year's annual slog got me thinking that as the long freeze on information about the ingredients in our building products lifts, we might face the paradox of a muddy road to transparency. Initially, it could be tough going for those who are not prepared for the disruptive impact this newly disclosed information will have on the...