Les normes de construction LEED défaut de protéger la santé humaine

English version: LEED Building Standards Fail to Protect Human Health
John WARGO Yale environment
The LEED program — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is playing an increasingly important role in the drive to make buildings in the United States greener and more energy efficient. LEED is now the most prominent and widely adopted green building certification program in the country, with architects and developers striving to earn LEED’s coveted platinum or gold rating, and an increasing number of local, state, and federal regulations beginning to incorporate LEED standards into official building codes.
But LEED — sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, an industry group — has a glaring and little-known drawback: It places scant emphasis on factors relating to human health, even as the largely unregulated use of potentially toxic building materials continues to expand. One of LEED’s major accomplishments — saving energy by making buildings more airtight — has had the paradoxical effect of more effectively trapping the gases emitted by the unprecedented number of chemicals used in today’s building materials and furnishings. Yet, as the threat from indoor air pollution grows, LEED puts almost no weight on human health factors in deciding whether a building meets its environmental and social goals.
I was lead author of a report on this issue that was released in May, and I recently met with Green Building Council executives, who made it clear that LEED’s management is deeply committed to an energy efficient future. Yet it also was apparent that the certification system is unlikely to soon focus on health with respect to hazardous chemicals.
At this point, LEED, a voluntary set of standards created by architects, engineers and builders, can award its highest level of certification —platinum — to a structure that earns no credits for air quality. In practice, the average LEED-certified building achieves only 6 percent of its total points for “indoor environmental quality,” the category most closely tied to health, although some of these credits are often given for lighting and thermal comfort rather than assurance of reduced exposure to dangerous substances.
This fact points up a serious flaw in the program: The job of setting standards for new construction — particularly health standards — should not be left to a private-sector organization dominated by members who profit from the sale of goods and services to the building sector.
The potential threats to human health — data suggest that increased chemical exposure in indoor environments may be one reason behind a rapid rise in childhood asthma, for example — require more aggressive action, primarily from the federal government. Because the public interest in healthy, energy-efficient, and environmentally safe buildings is enormous — and well beyond the capacity, financial interests, and willingness of the building industry to manage — the nation needs a comprehensive federal law to control the chemical content of the built environment. LEED is simply not up to the job.

Toxics in Buildings
In 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began testing human tissue samples to detect the presence of environmental contaminants. CDC scientists reported that most individuals carry a mixture of metals, plastic polymers, pesticides, solvents, fire retardants, and waterproofing agents, all commonly present in modern buildings. Children often carry higher concentrations than adults.
Many of the chemical ingredients in these building materials are well known to be hazardous to human health. Some are respiratory stressors, neurotoxins, hormone mimics, carcinogens, reproductive hazards, or developmental toxins. Thousands of synthetic and natural chemicals make up modern buildings, and many materials and products “off-gas” and can be inhaled by occupants. Others may erode from metal or plastic water pipes and end up in a glass of water.
The widespread use of such chemicals comes at a time when Americans spend, on average, 90 percent of their time indoors or in vehicles. American children — who increasingly forsake outdoor recreation to occupy themselves for more than seven hours a day with electronic media — spend an astonishing 97 percent of their lives indoors or in cars, according to a recent survey.
In December 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)released a list of chemicals that “may present an unreasonable risk of injury to health and the environment.” The EPA list includes four classes of chemicals widely used in the building industry and approved for use by the LEED rating system. These chemicals include phthalates (used as softeners in flexible vinyl products, such as floor and wall coverings); short-chain chlorinated paraffins (used in plastics); PBDEs (used as flame retardants in textiles, plastics, and wire insulation); and perfluorinated chemicals, including PFOA (used for non-stick cookware and stain resistant materials). Many LEED-certified buildings have been constructed using some of these compounds.
Plastics pose a special problem, as they now comprise nearly 70 percent of the synthetic chemical industry in the United States. More than 100 billion pounds of resins are produced each year, forming many different building materials, including window and door casings, furnishings, electrical wiring, piping, insulation, water and waste conduits, floor coverings, paints, appliances, countertops, lighting fixtures, and electronics.
Hazardous chemicals have become components of LEED-certified indoor environments primarily due to the failures of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and EPA’s neglect of the problem. Congress has given the EPA limited authority to require testing of likely hazardous chemicals in building products. Among nearly 80,000 chemicals in commerce, EPA has required toxicity testing of only 200 in nearly 25 years. These test results led EPA to ban or phase out only five chemicals. The overwhelming majority of chemicals in buildings remain untested, meaning that new products may incorporate tens of thousands of untested chemicals with no government oversight. Since TSCA places the burden of proof of hazard on EPA, nearly all chemicals in building materials have escaped federal testing and regulation.
Many sectors of the economy, including pharmaceuticals and pesticides, are highly regulated by the federal government to protect public health. But the building sector — which now produces $1.25 trillion in annual revenues, roughly 9 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 2009 — has escaped such federal control. The lack of government regulation is explained, in part, by the building industry’s enormous financial power, but also by its recent success in creating green building and development standards that give the impression of environmental responsibility and protection of human health…..Read more


雅言组 译
LEED认证已经成为了美国新建筑的绿色标准。 但它的评分标准,严重忽视了与人类健康密切相关的因素,特别是在对有潜在毒性的建筑材料的使用方面。
LEED认证一直在能源与环境设计处于领先地位,它在促进美国建筑物更“绿”更加节能方面发挥了越来越重要的作用。 LEED在目前是该国最突出和也最广泛采用的绿色建筑认证标准。LEED的金级、白金级徽章是建筑师和开发商们梦寐以求的。现在有越来越多地方,州,和联 邦法规开始将其纳入官方的绿色建筑规范。
然而,正是这个由 美国绿色建筑协会这一工业集团支持的LEED标准,却有着一个明显但鲜为人知的缺陷:它很少涉及与人类健康息息相关的材料因素,甚至对有潜在毒性的建筑材 料没有监管,且有不断扩大的趋势。 我们看到,LEED的一个主要成就就是:为使建筑更加节能,采用完全密闭的设计。但它同时带来一个背道而驰的结果:-密闭的设计使得家具和建材所使用的化 学制品产生的气体空前聚集, 这样一来,来自于室内空气污染的威胁不断增加。这样看来,就涉及人类健康方面,LEED建筑标准没有承担起对环境及社会的责任。
本人作为今年5月出版的 《LEED-能源效率与人类健康的博弈》的主笔会见了绿色建筑委员会的一些主管,他们承认,LEED管理认证首先致力于能源效率,但至于危险化学品对健康影响方面,很显然LEED不会很快投入其中。
在这一点上,LEED,这一套由建筑师,工程师和建造商创造自愿标准,在建造上规定了铂金顶级水平- 而对空气质量没有设立任何级别。 而具体操作时,LEED认证的建筑中涉及“室内环境质量”平均只有6 %,而该类别中最健康息息相关,更多的是在照明和热舒适度上,而不是用于减少危险物质的扩散。
这一事实点明了认证编排中的严重缺陷:制定新的建筑标准的工作(特别是健康标准) 不应该留给一个由建筑商品和服务销售利益既得利益者所主导的私营机构。
有数据表明,对人类健康的潜在威胁,例如,对室内环境中化学制品接触的增加是导致儿童哮喘病发病率迅速上升的原因。 我们因此需要更积极的行动,尤其是来自联邦政府的行动。 由于这涉及社会大众在健康,节能,环保及建筑安全方面的巨大共同利益 ,也远远超出了建筑业行业的财政,管理能力。这就需要国家制定一个全面的联邦法律,来控制建筑环境中的化学成分内容。 LEED当然就无法胜任这一工作。

1999年,美国疾病控制和预防中心(CDC)开始测试人体组织样本,以检测环境污染物的存在。最后, 该中心(CDC)的科学家们在得出的报告中说:大多数人体内所携带的金属混合物,塑料聚合物,农药,溶剂,阻燃剂,防水剂等,全都普遍存在于现代建筑物 中,而儿童体内所携带比例往往比成人更高。
在这些建筑材料的化学成分很多是众所周知危害人类健康的。 有些是造成呼吸困难,危害神经生殖或发育,致癌毒素。 现代建筑所使用的成千上万合成或天然化学物质,许多建筑材料和产品所散发的气体,可以直接被吸入体内。而其他有害物质则可能通过金属或塑料水管进入饮用水 而侵蚀我们人体。
在化学制品广泛使用的室内或汽车,美国人平均却有90%的时间在其中度过。 根据最近的一项调查,美国儿童越来越多地放弃户外活动,而选择每天自己呆在电脑前的时间超过7小时, 他们生活在室内或汽车的时间比例更高达97%。
2009年12月,美国环境保护署(EPA) 发布了一个“可能有存在对健康和环境造成损害的危险的”化学品清单 。环保署名单中所列举的四类化学品都被广泛用于建筑行业,也被LEED系统批准使用。 这些化学物质包括邻苯二甲酸盐(用作软化剂弹性乙烯产品,如乙烯地板和墙壁覆盖物);短链氯化石蜡(塑料用),多溴二苯醚(如阻燃剂在纺织,塑料,电线绝 缘用)和全氟化学品,包括全氟辛酸铵(用于不粘锅,防污耐磨材料使用)。 许多LEED认证的已建成的建筑物使用了其中一些化合物。
塑料带来一个特殊的问题,因为现在他们已经占到美国合成化学工业近七成的份额。每年 有超过100亿磅树脂被制成多种不同类型的建筑材料,这包括门窗外壳,家具,电线,管道,保温,水和废物管道,地板,油漆,电器,台面,照明装置和电子产品。
危险化学品现在已成为LEED认证的室内环境组成部分,而《联邦 有毒物质控制法 (TSCA)》和美国环境保护署(EPA)在这个问题上大大忽视了。 美国国会赋予环保署测试建筑产品中可能有害化学品的权力只十分有限。 其中近8万个商业化学品,在25年里美国环境保护署(EPA)要求检测的约只有200个。 这些测试结果导致美国环保署只禁止或淘汰5个化学品。 建筑物的绝大多数化学制品是未经检验的,这意味着新产品含有的上万种未经政府监督化学物质逃脱了检验。 由于《联邦有毒物质控制法 (TSCA)》负担危险证明,就此几乎所有的化学制品就都逃脱联邦建筑材料测试和监管。
许多经济部门,包括药品,农药都受到联邦政府的高度监管,以保障公众健康。但是,建筑行业 – 这个2009年创造1.25万亿美元年收入,约占国内生产总值9%的部门- 却这样逃脱了联邦监管。 政府监管不足原因可以部分归咎于建筑业的财政力量巨大影响力,而且最近他们在创建和发展绿色建筑标准取得的成功,给公众以保护环境和人类健康的负责任的印 象。

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