Report Puts Lens on Built Environment's Link to Asthma

The design firm Perkins+Will released it Aug. 8, with a leader of the firm's sustainability efforts calling the asthmagens a "lurking public health threat."

The design firm Perkins+Will has released what it calls the first-ever report on asthmagens and asthma triggers in building materials and products. The report, "Healthy Environments: A Compilation of Substances Linked to Asthma," identifies 374 substances common in the built environment that are known or suspected asthmagens.

The firm indicated the Aug. 8 report's findings were compiled from an analysis of eight lists of published research from academic and government sources. Building materials, furnishings, household cleaning products, personal care and hobby products, central heating and cooling systems, and humidification devices are among the listed items.

"We are glad to highlight the lurking public health threat of asthmagens in the built environment," said Peter Syrett, leader of sustainability efforts at Perkins+Will's New York office. "This report complements Perkins+Will’s Precautionary List and Transparency website in educating the public on the potentially harmful impact of buildings on the environment and human health."

The firm hopes to raise awareness of the connection between health and buildings, and thus encourage the use of healthy buildings. Included in the report is information about occupations and industries that most come into contact with these asthmagens and asthma triggers.

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