HBN Partnering with Cradle to Cradle for Hazard Screening


Tom Lent - March 30, 2016

The Healthy Building Network (HBN)  has recently completed a project with the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to include a Cradle to Cradle view in the Pharos Chemicals and Materials Library (CML). This view will allow anyone with access to Pharos to screen any of the more than 30,000 substances currently catalogued in HBN’s CML using the Cradle to Cradle Certified protocol.

The Cradle to Cradle Material Health Assessment Methodology helps manufacturers on the path to product optimization through a four-stage evaluation: Inventory—knowing what’s in it; Screening—identifying known hazards; Assessment—a full toxicological assessment against 24 human and environmental endpoints; and Optimization—using materials that are safe for humans and the environment. HBN’s CML is an independent, comprehensive database for identifying health hazards associated with building products based on authoritative hazard lists. The addition of the Cradle to Cradle view to the CML provides access to screening Cradle to Cradle hazard profiles, which include Cradle to Cradle red/yellow/green hazard ratings for each endpoint where a chemical has been listed on any one of 37 applicable authoritative hazard lists. Chemicals are easily searchable by chemical name or CAS Registry Number. 

This allows manufacturers and product designers to quickly and easily identify toxic chemicals that could lead to “X assessments,” a designation within Cradle to Cradle’s Material Health Methodology identifying highly problematic substances that are targeted for phase-out, including known carcinogens, mutagens, and reproductive toxicants. The tool also readily identifies substances on Cradle to Cradle’s Banned Chemicals Lists. Manufacturers can prescreen materials and products to identify potentially problematic substances before beginning more in-depth work with an assessor for Cradle to Cradle certification. Meanwhile, product assessors can use the tool to streamline the list-screening step of the Material Health Assessment process.

“This partnership and tool will empower manufacturers and product designers to make early and informed decisions, and will help to motivate them to start on the path toward Cradle to Cradle certification and pursue continuous improvement in our program,” said Susan Klosterhaus, Ph.D., Vice President of Science and Certification for the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, which administers the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program. “This is one of many steps that we are taking to make Cradle to Cradle certification more approachable and provide tools and resources for manufacturers who want to pursue regenerative design.”

“We are excited to collaborate with the Institute to help manufacturers quickly access critical information to inform the selection of inherently safer substances for use within their products,” says Tom Lent, Policy Director of the Healthy Building Network, which built the screening tool. “Bringing together the power and scope of the Pharos database with the assessment insights of the Cradle to Cradle certification process advances our mission by empowering manufacturers and will not only aid in the optimization process, but will ultimately result in better products for architects and designers. By providing the Cradle to Cradle screening level profile along with indicators from GreenScreen, U.S. EPA Design for the Environment, Living Building Challenge, and other programs, this tool provides manufacturers a useful one-stop shop for the initial scoping on their path to full optimization.”

About the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is a non-profit organization based in California focused on transforming the making and consumption of things into a regenerative force for the planet. The Institute uses design, based on laws of nature, to help commerce create products that are safe for people and the environment. This rethinking of how we design, manufacture, use and reuse materials will spur a new era of research and innovation, simultaneously driving economic, ecological and social prosperity. For more information about the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, board of directors, and Cradle to Cradle Certified products, visit www.c2ccertified.org.

About the Healthy Building Network

The Healthy Building Network is a non-profit whose organizational mission is to transform the market for building materials to advance the best environmental, health and social outcomes. HBN performs independent, foundational research and product evaluations and develops tools to support chemical hazard assessment and product decision management. Through these we help users select better products for their projects and signal their interest in inherently safer products, and we provide manufacturers with guidance in the design of products to meet that demand. For more information about the Healthy Building Network and the Pharos Project, visit www.healthybuilding.net.


Tom Lent is the Policy Director for the Healthy Building Network.