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Demand To Know What’s In The Products We Buy

In this interview with Bill Walsh, the Founder of The Healthy Building Network, he touches on the need to understand what goes into and makes up the products we use and the importance of moving towards environmental justice.

Walsh notes that no industry uses more materials than the building industry. For this reason, the importance of using healthy materials in their production is paramount.

Walsh started out in the environmental movement for 15 years before moving into green building. It was when he saw the influence architects had that prompted his transition.  Walsh speaks to the importance of understanding that a material is only healthy if it is healthy for everyone. That means it must be healthy when its being produced at site, used wherever and eventually disposed. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many examples and as a result the negative effects at the sites of production are disproportionately felt in lower income and usually minority areas are felt far more than for others. This is social inequity.

One way we can aim to ameliorate these imbalances is to demand to know what is in our products, for companies to screen for toxic materials and to move towards the blanket use of what Walsh defines as a healthy material and in doing so, aim for environmental justice.