This is a legacy version of the WELL Building Standard. Please check the latest version here.

Toxic material reduction

Various chemicals are still used in the manufacture of building materials, despite known or suspected health hazards. Flame retardant chemicals, which are used to increase fire-resistance of materials, include PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers)—which, based on animal tests, are associated with potential neurobehavioral, carcinogenic and immune effects. Some of these chemicals can bioaccumulate in fat and result in food chain contamination, including human milk.

This feature identifies some potentially harmful chemical compounds commonly found in building materials, and suggests avoiding them in certain applications. Refer to Table A3 in Appendix C for specific chemical names and registration numbers.

Part 1: Perfluorinated Compound Limitation

No perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are present in the following condition:

a.36 At levels equal to or greater than 100 ppm in components that constitute at least 5% by weight of a furniture or furnishing (drapes/curtains) assembly.
Part 2: Flame Retardant Limitation

Halogenated flame retardants are limited in the following components to 0.01% (100 ppm) to the extent allowable by local code:

a.36 Window and waterproofing membranes, door and window frames and siding.
b.36 Flooring, ceiling tiles and wall coverings.
c.36 Piping and electrical cables, conduits and junction boxes.
d.36 Sound and thermal insulation.
e.36 Upholstered furniture and furnishings, textiles and fabrics.
Part 3: Phthalate (Plasticizers) Limitation

DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP or DNOP (often found in polyvinyl chloride [PVC]) are limited in the following components to 0.01% (100 ppm):

a.36 Flooring, including resilient and hard surface flooring and carpet.
b.36 Wall coverings, window blinds and shades, shower curtains, furniture and upholstery.
c.36 Plumbing pipes and moisture barriers.
Part 4: Isocyanate-Based Polyurethane Limitation

Isocyanate-based polyurethane products are not used in:

a.16 Interior finishes.
Part 5: Urea-Formaldehyde Restriction

Urea-formaldehyde presence is limited in the following components to 100 ppm:

a.1 Furniture or any composite wood products.
b.1 Laminating adhesives and resins.
c.1 Thermal insulation.
Reproductive
Endocrine

Applicability Matrix

Core & Shell New & Existing Buildings New & Existing Interiors
Part 1: Perfluorinated Compound Limitation - O O
Part 2: Flame Retardant Limitation - O O
Part 3: Phthalate (Plasticizers) Limitation - O O
Part 4: Isocyanate-Based Polyurethane Limitation - O O
Part 5: Urea-Formaldehyde Restriction - O O
Commercial Kitchen Education Multifamily Residential Restaurant Retail
Part 1: Perfluorinated Compound Limitation O O O O O
Part 2: Flame Retardant Limitation O O O O O
Part 3: Phthalate (Plasticizers) Limitation O O O O O
Part 4: Isocyanate-Based Polyurethane Limitation O O O O O
Part 5: Urea-Formaldehyde Restriction O O O O O

Verification Methods Matrix

Letters of Assurance Annotated Documents On-Site Checks
Part 1: Perfluorinated Compound Limitation Architect
Part 2: Flame Retardant Limitation Architect
Part 3: Phthalate (Plasticizers) Limitation Architect
Part 4: Isocyanate-Based Polyurethane Limitation Architect
Part 5: Urea-Formaldehyde Restriction Architect
1

U.S. Green Building Council. LEED v4: Reference Guide for Building Design and Construction. Washington D.C.: U.S. Green Building Council; 2013: 37, 43-44, 541-552, 567, 605, 623, 645-53, 658-61, 682-3, 685-6, 723-4.

25.5.a

USGBC's LEED 2009 for Healthcare MR Credit sets limits for furniture and medical furnishings including textiles, finishes and dyes, to less than 100 ppm of at least four out of five chemical groups, including urea-formaldehyde.

25.5.b

USGBC's LEED 2009 for Healthcare MR Credit sets limits for furniture and medical furnishings including textiles, finishes and dyes, to less than 100 ppm of at least four out of five chemical groups, including urea-formaldehyde.

25.5.c

USGBC's LEED 2009 for Healthcare MR Credit sets limits for furniture and medical furnishings including textiles, finishes and dyes, to less than 100 ppm of at least four out of five chemical groups, including urea-formaldehyde.

16

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Methylene Diphenyl Diisocycanate and Related Compounds Action Plan.http://www.wftaylor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/EPA_MDI_Action_Plan.pdf. Published April 2011. Accessed October 17, 2014.

25.4.a

The EPA's Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate and Related Compounds Action Plan outlines the risk of exposure to isocyanate-based compounds.

36

U.S. Green Building Council. Pilot Credit 54: Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern. http://www.usgbc.org/node/2606894?return=/pilotcredits/Commercial-Interiors/v2009. Accessed September 15, 2014.

25.1.a

USGBC's LEED v3 Pilot Credit 54 requires that third party certified building materials may not include perfluorinated compounds at levels equal to or greater than 100 ppm.

25.2.c

USGBC's LEED v3 Pilot Credit 54 requires that third party certified building products not contain more than 0.01% by mass (100ppm) brominated or halogenated flame retardants containing bromine, chlorine, or fluorine.

25.2.d

USGBC's LEED v3 Pilot Credit 54 requires that third party certified building products not contain more than 0.01% by mass (100ppm) brominated or halogenated flame retardants containing bromine, chlorine, or fluorine.

25.2.e

USGBC's LEED v3 Pilot Credit 54 requires that third party certified building products not contain more than 0.01% by mass (100ppm) brominated or halogenated flame retardants containing bromine, chlorine, or fluorine.

25.2.a

USGBC's LEED v3 Pilot Credit 54 requires that third party certified building products not contain more than 0.01% by mass (100ppm) brominated or halogenated flame retardants containing bromine, chlorine, or fluorine.

25.2.b

USGBC's LEED v3 Pilot Credit 54 requires that third party certified building products not contain more than 0.01% by mass (100ppm) brominated or halogenated flame retardants containing bromine, chlorine, or fluorine.

25.3.a

USGBC's LEED v4 Pilot Credit 54 requires that third party certified building products not contain more than 0.01% by mass (100ppm) of phthalates.

25.3.b

USGBC's LEED v4 Pilot Credit 54 requires that third party certified building products not contain more than 0.01% by mass (100ppm) of phthalates.

25.3.c

USGBC's LEED v4 Pilot Credit 54 requires that third party certified building products not contain more than 0.01% by mass (100ppm) of phthalates.