Neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spine and nerves that connect them. There are hundreds of diseases of the nervous system: brain tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and memory disorders. Causes are diverse and include genetics, infections, lifestyle and environmental factors. Substances of concern which are known or suspected to be neurotoxins, and are relevant to the building industry, include dioxins, halogenated flame retardants, lead and mercury.
More information: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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.
• Ask product reps about PVC-free options.
Many manufacturers offer PVC-free alternatives to exterior components, interior finishes, piping, conduit, electrical cable and wire jacketing.
• 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.
• Specify lead-free piping, fittings and fixtures where metal piping will be used to deliver water intended for human consumption.
• Specify lead-free solder and flux.
• 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.