It may be surprising that it hasn’t happened earlier, but formaldehyde has now been officially included in the Health and Human Services Report on Carcinogens, paving the way for further regulation of the chemical.

As Treehugger reports, scientists and politicians have known about the risks for years, but the formaldehyde industry has fought long and hard to prevent its inclusion on the HHS Report on Carcinogens.  The Report is a federally-mandated document that “identifies agents, substances, mixtures, or exposures… known to be a human carcinogen.”

The commission responsible for the report, the National Toxicology Program has noted of the particular dangers posed to certain segments of the workforce – namely, industrial workers and embalmers – which include myeloid leukemia and rare cancers in the sinuses and parts of the throat.

We at Green Depot especially care about this issue, because it turns out that urea-formaldehyde is often added to the adhesives used to produce conventional particle board, plywood, and other lumber products.  Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) meaning that if products made with the chemical are found in the home, they can offgas into the household environment for years to come, meaning long-term exposure.  This is of tremendous cause for concern as homeowners push for higher energy efficiency through weatherization programs, which limits the draftiness of homes – confining offgassing formaldehyde in living areas.

It should be noted that wood intrinsically contains a small amount of naturally occurring phenol-formaldehyde. The levels of formaldehyde naturally found in wood is not considered to be hazaradous, and is not a cause for concern in the same way that the formaldehyde that off-gasses from many plywoods, insulations, particle boards can be.

Green Depot carries a number of no added urea-formaldehyde plywood, flooring, green building materials and other green products.  You can visit our Green Wood Supplies department by clicking here.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

credit: unep.org/wed

Mark your calendars for this Sunday, June 5 – because it’s World Environment Day!

According to the official website for the holiday, World Environment Day is a program of the United Nations Environment Program (the UNEP) created and designated as June 5 in 1973 by the UN General Assembly.  World Environment Day is similar to the American analogue, Earth Day, in that it serves as an annual reminder to keep the environment in mind, and allows civic groups to use the date as a to enhance political action around the environment.

The day has a special historical significance because it marks the first UN Conference on the Human Environment, which is one of the earliest major political events concerning environmentalism, and at the time served as a galvanizing event in the history of the movement.

This year to commemorate the holiday, I’ll be making great use of the beautiful out-of-doors as I travel to Assateague Island National Seashore for a camping and kayaking trip.  While on Earth Day many of us use the holiday as an event for political or community action – for staging rallies or events, or planting trees or doing roadside cleanup – I’m practicing my environmentalism in another way – by getting out into nature and appreciating the pure beauty of it.  And we at Green Depot hope you do, too!

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

BBOX Radio organizers (photo credit to Dekalb Market Project)Over the last few months we’ve written several times about the Dekalb Market and even got to interview its founders, Eldon Scott and Thomas Kosbau.  Dekalb Market was, until recently, hosting a competition to design one of the up-cycled container storefronts, and our CEO Sarah Beatty was a member on the panel of judges.

Hold your breath no longer!  The winner of the Not Just a Container contest has been named, and the winners are . . . BBOX Radio!

The Dekalb Market project is a new market space to be opened in downtown Brooklyn on the Fulton Stret Mall, and (remarkably) will be constructed from a collection of up-cycled commerical shipping containers.  Back in March, the organizers announced a competition for entrepreneurs to develop new ideas for the use of a shipping container for art, commerce, or agriculture.  As the project’s website says, “The goal of the competition is to support the growth of Brooklyn’s creative community by helping a local entrepreneur realize his or her dream of opening a bricks and mortar location.”

BBOX Radio were announced as the winners on May 11 at the Madison Square EATS market.  BBOX Radio plans to construct a community public radio station, bringing together the old community of the Fulton Street Mall with the new Dekalb Market space.  The project designers hope the new space will become a forum for “local residents and business to share their inspirations, showcase their skills, promote entrepreneurship, cultivate creativity, and celebrate community.”  You can view a full showcase of their winning proposal by clicking here [flash].

BBOX Radio won a container license rent-free for six months, a $3,000 design and construction budget, a one year membership to 3rd Ward, a one year membership to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, press exposure, and an online feature.  Excitingly for us, Green Depot will be furnishing sustainable building materials and other green products to help complete the project!

To read the full press release you can visit the Dekalb Market Projects blog by clicking here, or – better yet – take a trip to the Fulton Street Mall to check out BBOX yourself when they launch this year!

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

As USA Today reports, several very important professional medical associations are now speaking out in support of Rep. Lautenburg’s proposal to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which Green Depot publicly supports.

The American Academy of Pediatricians has issued a statement calling for an update to the outdated legislation, citing some very disturbing facts: namely, babies are now being born “pre-polluted,” with over 200 chemicals present in their bodies including lead, flame retardants, and pesticides banned over 30 years ago.  As many are keen to point out, very few of the chemicals produced in the United States have been tested for safety – as few as 12 out of the top 3000 produced here.

Not only are chemicals now being found in the tissues of our most vulnerable citizens, our children, but existing legislation is severely inadequate.  The National Resources Defense Council notes that the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act is so weak that the EPA was unable to use it to ban asbestos.

In addition to the potential dangers of these substances being found in our children, there has been a strong linkage found between the IQ rates of children and their exposure to toxic substances, as well as a higher occurrence of genetic deformities.

Other medical organizations that have called for updates to the legislation include the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and the American Public Health Association.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

I have a few other hats, in addition to my role as the blogger for Green Depot.  One of those hats I wear is the Director of Outreach and Advocacy for the Human Impacts Institute, a fledgling NGO I started with a former colleague of mine.

For the next two weeks, on behalf of the Human Impacts Institute, I’m attending the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development’s 19th conference (CSD-19), as a delegate to the Youth and Children Major Group.

This seems like a lot of diplomatic jargon, I’m sure!  And to a large extent, it is.  So, I’ll break it down just a little bit:

At most UN conferences, and at the CSD-19 in particular, every government has a delegation. (Sometimes, groups of governments are represented by a single nation – like the G77, a group of 77 developing nations represented at the CSD-19 by Indonesia).

But not only governments have delegations.  There are nine “major groups” that also have a seat on the negotiation floor: Youth and Children, Indigenous Peoples, Women, Farmers, Business and Industry, Local Authorities, NGOs, Scientific and Technological Community, and Workers and Trade Unions.  I’m a part of the Youth and Children Major Group.

In addition, the conference has several focal areas, and for 2011 they are: Transportation, Mining, Chemicals, Waste Management, and Sustainable Consumption and Production.  Each delegation, from national governments and from the major groups, sends representatives to each negotiation session for each topic listed above (all of which are held in different rooms).

When these groups get together in the room, they hash out the text for policy documents, which are originally submitted by the chair of that focal group.  This is where politics come into play, and things can get heated, especially as lingering tensions between the developed and developing nations comes to the fore.  Major groups are given limited opportunities to offer revisions to the document (known as interventions) and are largely there to observe (know as tracking).  However, in the last two days of negotiation, all major groups are permitted to offer their own amendments and revisions.

And that, in a nutshell, is how the process works at the CSD-19!

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

Today, our CEO Sarah Beatty attended the National Association of Women in Construction’s (NAWIC) regional conference, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Green Depot is part of a few professional organizations, including the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.  The NAWIC in particular is a special organization.  According to their website, NAWIC began as the Women in Construction of Fort Forth, founded in 1953 by 16 women when even working outside of the home was considered unusual.  Because these founders understood that women occupied a marginal space within the construction industry, they founded NAWIC as a support network, gaining a national charter in 1955.

Presently, the NAWIC has a membership of more than 4,500, including our Green Depot’s CEO, Sarah Beatty, who founded Green Depot in 2005 with a mission: to make green living, green products, and building solutions accessible, affordable and gratifying.

Green Depot and the NAWIC share one part of their mission in particular: education.  At Green Depot, we try to educate the building trade and consumers about “what green means” every day via our propriety CLEAR filter, FLIP It Green Service, and community programs and events.  The NAWIC has a whole group of educational programs for its members, as well – educating women on issues as diverse as environmental concerns, construction issues, land development, public works, water law, real estate, and engineering.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.