Our ability to consider health impacts when selecting materials is increasing every day. Recent efforts from government, industry and consumer groups have led to great advancement in transparency—from product manufacturers and public awareness, of health concerns associated with specific products. With continued attention, we can look forward to a future of truly healthy environments.


Material transparency is a manufacture’s information disclosure which pertains to human and environmental health during a product's life cycle. There is no comprehensive system in place for total health transparency, but a few leading efforts are providing initial steps. CannonDesign has requested that manufacturers produce publicly available Health Product Declarations and Environmental Product Declarations.


It is time to consider material selections based on cost, performance, aesthetics and health. With transparency, we can begin to ensure that materials will be part of a healthier future.


The purpose of this tool is to:


1. Provide high-level information on health concerns related to commonly selected materials and products.


2. Present current research and trends related to manufacturer transparency.


3. Provide practical resources architects, designers and engineers can use to further promote transparency and selection of healthier products.


4. Inform teams of options for setting and achieving goals, for materials and health.


A Note About Organization

Information is placed under two major headings: Environmental Health and Human Health. This is a simplification to consider content in manageable chunks. This approach will also be helpful when setting material health goals for a project. In reality, human and environmental health are inextricably linked. Harm to one is harm to both.


Together, we create design solutions to the greatest challenges facing our clients and society.