Chemicals, Health, and the Built Environment – February 1, 2014


Chemicals, Health, and the Built Environment

Flammability Standards, Flame Retardants, and Healthy Buildings

A daylong workshop on how to reduce use of harmful chemicals in building materials and how to educate others about flame retardants and other toxics in consumer products

Date & Time:



Saturday, February 1, 2014
9:00am – 4:30pm
Minerva House
1536 Oxford Street
Berkeley, CA 94709
[email protected]


Most furniture foam and foam plastics used in building insulation have been treated with flame retardants in the U.S. since the 1960 and 1970s. However, there has not been an adequate evaluation of the fire safety benefits or the potential health and ecological harm of these materials. This workshop will examine testing methods used to determine fire safety of materials, the efficacy of flame retardants in foam insulation and upholstered furniture, and regulations and building codes that mandate flame retardant use. Solutions for achieving fire safety and energy efficiency without compromising health or the environment will be covered, as well as strategies for bringing about needed changes in fire safety regulations. Flame retardant chemicals are considered in detail as a model for toxics reduction.

Participants will have the opportunity to present to a small group on what they have learned and receive feedback from peers and presenters. In addition, they will receive educational materials to share with their colleagues and with the greater building and design community.

A materials and instruction fee of $100 will be collected at the start of the workshop and includes:

  • Breakfast and lunch on the day of the workshop
  • Sample PowerPoint presentations
  • Fact sheets
  • A bibliography of useful resources
  • A separate small-group coaching session on your talk

Reduced fees are available for students and members of the nonprofit, government, and academic communities; please inquire at registration.

Workshop will be capped at 25. Pre-registration is required.