I’m always on the lookout for healthy and green products, but it’s tough to get unbiased information on a product’s real impacts. Now that green is hot, greenwashing – the deceptive use of green marketing – is definitely on the rise.
EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region selected the Pharos Project from the Healthy Building Network as an environmental award winner. Their mission is to transform the market for building materials – more than three billion tons per year – to advance best environmental, health and social practices. In 2008, Pharos — a revolutionary on-line tool for evaluating and comparing the impacts of building materials in a comprehensive and transparent way — was developed.
The Pharos Project is re-defining green labeling practices to develop a consumer-driven vision of truly green materials using a 16-attribute visual lens and label. This offers more information than any other green label on the market, including the ability to compare actual ingredients. Together, the lens and label will allow the public and the building community to buy products with the attributes most important to them.
The Healthy Building Network has also worked to –
- Advance adoption of the Precautionary Principle
- Develop the Green Guide for Health Care
- Support the California’s stringent restrictions on formaldehyde emissions from particleboard, and
- Research San Francisco’s dioxin-free procurement policy.
As I look through the Pharos lens, everything seems important, but I’d have to say that my Pharos-pie-piece priorities are High Hazard Toxics, Indoor Air Quality, Global Warming, Fairness and Equity, Habitat, and Renewable Materials.
What are yours?
About the author: Timonie Hood has worked on EPA Region 9’s Resource Conservation Team for 10 years and is Co-Chair of EPA’s Green Building Workgroup.