Friday, February 06, 2009

Keeping Your Family Safe Program - Talks about NYC Guidelines

Monday, February 2, 2009, we had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Chris D’Andrea, an Environmental Scientist, and Certified Industrial Hygienist who oversees the Office of Environmental Investigations with the New York City Department Health and Mental Hygiene for our internet radio program “Keeping Your Family Safe” (find it at on the Green Talk Network). Mr. D’Andrea is the editor of New York City’s “Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments. In our program, we discussed the guidelines and covered the following points:

  • The differences between the current update and the previous guidelines.
  • The importance of the visual inspection.
  • The different cleaning methods of soap or detergent, disinfectants, fogging, and anti-microbials.
  • Importance of removing the mold.
  • Health effects appendix of the standard.
  • Importance of removing moisture intrusion and its potential health effects.
  • Changing remediation to three sizes versus four.
  • Addition of the EPA table as a reference.

This Monday, February 9, 2009, we will be discussing Making a Sustainable Home Healthy with Dr. Marilyn Black founder of Greenguard Environmental Institute that oversees the Greenguard Certification Program.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Garcia, I am pleased you are addressing these important topics!

For your Monday broadcast, please ask Dr. Black to address the confusion and serious criticism surrounding the Greenguard program.

When I read the Greenguard material it seems to imply that Greenguard certified products are safe for use in homes. However, two problems with Greenguard are often cited.

#1. The products are tested for VOC emissions under laboratory conditions. Then the measured VOC concentrations are converted to standarized conditions. Critics charge that Greenguard standardized conditions are based on out-dated office requirements from old purchasing specs from a 1989 State of Washington project, a 1995 EPA building, and a 2000 California specification for school buildings. None of these specs were intended to represent home environments which have much lower ventilation than commercial environments. What evidence can Dr. Black provide that the Greenguard standardized conditions are representative of homes?

#2. The VOC concentration limits used by Greenguard for carcinogens like formaldehyde (50 ppb and 13.5 ppb at commercial ventilation levels) are not as low as the chronic levels specified by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances (8 ppb) or the most recent State of California chronic standards (2 ppb). Can Dr. Black please explain why Greenguard does not use the chronic levels specified by these respected organizations?

I realize it is difficult to define "safe" levels, but Greenguard advertises their program so heavily that they must have some evidence to address these fundamental problems.

Critics charge that Greenguard only uses Dr. Black's for-profit laboratory (Air Quality Sciences) and that the more products Greenguard can certify, the more money the lab business can make. Is this true?

For details on these issues please see the comments and limited response from Greenguard posted here:

Also see the concerns raised in comments on the Treehugger blog here:

More details are raised in a letter to Greenguard posted here:

Thank you for bringing topical and important issues forward for discussion!