Perkins and Will Precautionary List

The Perkins & Will Precautionary List is a compilation of hazardous chemicals that are used in the building, design, and construction industry. The list was developed by Perkins & Will, an architecture and planning firm whose aim is to provide industry professionals with a tool to analyze the health and environmental impacts of substances found in building products and seek safer alternatives. Each chemical’s profile includes information about its impact on health, its prevalence in building products, and international regulations. Perkins & Will uses the Precautionary Principle, as specified by the Science and Environmental Health Network, as a guideline for including substances on the list: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” Even if the scientific community has not reached a consensus on the risks of a given chemical, the Precautionary Principle recommends avoiding use. Precautionary measures for hazardous chemicals include evaluating alternatives and informing clients to prevent harm. Perkins & Will has mandated product reviews for all of its firm’s projects, and designers are also expected to share information about items on the Precautionary List with clients so they can make informed decisions.

Perkins & Will’s designers and architects do not conduct their own research; instead, they collect existing information and studies by experts at government agencies, universities, and other institutions. To use the Precautionary List, industry professionals must first obtain a material’s ingredient list, such as a Health Product Declaration (HPD).

The Precautionary List is just one of three lists created through Perkins & Will’s transparency initiative. The Watch List consists of chemicals of concern for which alternatives and data are either not yet available or inconclusive. These substances might appear later on the Precautionary List when more information is available. The Sunset List identifies hazardous chemicals that have been retired from the Precautionary List, for various possible reasons: they are no longer commonly used, or they have been removed from most building codes and manufacturing regulations.1

  1. Perkins & Will – Transparency

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