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Developmental Disabilities


Developmental disabilities are physical, learning, language or behavioral impairments caused by complex factors of genetics, perinatal health, complications during birth and exposure to environmental toxins. Substances of concern which are known or suspected to be developmental toxins, and are relevant to the building industry, include cadmium, dioxins, halogenated flame retardants, lead, mercury, PFCs and phthalates.


More information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


What Can I Do On My Project?


Set tight goals for electricity use.
Cadmium, mercury, lead and particulates are released when coal is burned, so each kilowatt hour saved is a reduction in emissions which are hazardous to human health.


Request Health Product Declarations (HPD) from product vendors and manufacturers.
An HPD identifies health hazards associated with product ingredients.


Specify Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS)-compliant controls, wire, cable, electronic and electrical equipment, including lighting fixtures.
The European RoHS restricts the use of six hazardous materials (including mercury, lead, and cadmium) in the manufacture of electronic and electrical equipment.


Ask insulation, furniture, and fabric product manufacturers about Halogenated Flame Retardants.
Ask whether their products comply with relevant regulations by using a minimum amount of flame retardants and avoiding the most toxic flame retardants.


Ask textile and carpet manufacturers whether their products contain long-chain PFCs for stain or water repellence.
Note: some long-chain PFC abbreviations to avoid include PFOA, PFAS, PFAC, PFHxS and PFOS.


Specify stainless steel or galvanized finishes in lieu of cadmium coatings for fittings and other hardware materials.


Select low-mercury fluorescent lamps and mercury-free lighting options.


Avoid selection of equipment which requires batteries for power.
Consider hardwired or power-free alternatives when appropriate. Batteries contain toxic metals and acids which present hazards to people during recycling and disposal.

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