The first time I heard that concrete was considered a green building material, I was surprised. Hadn’t I heard lots of buzz about forgoing concrete walkways in favor of stone and other pervious building materials, which are much better for storm drainage?
But the glossy brochures from the cement makers assured me that concrete was a material of choice for LEED building projects –the material of choice for green schools. And in fact, there were now pervious varieties of concrete, so you can still use concrete on the walkways after all.
Chastened by my lack of knowledge about concrete, I dutifully added it to my ever expanding list of “eco friendly” materials. Then my bloggy friend Lisa from Retro Housewife Goes Green told the @GreenMoms about her battles with the cement plant in her hometown in Oklahoma. It seems that production of this green building material – destined for high class kitchen counters, big city buildings, and new green schools – emits some pretty noxious fumes.
And indeed, a google search quickly turned up some stories about how the EPA only recently started tightening restrictions on concrete production, which has toxic, carcenogenic byproducts such as mercury.
What ever happened to cradle-to-cradle? How can concrete be considered green by the architects, yet be a poison to those unfortunate enough to live in the shadow of the cement plants?
I’m eager to read the round-up of posts on this subject over at Retro Housewife Goes Green, and I’m especially curious about whether the architects and interior designers have used their marketplace clout to encourage the cement manufacturers to clean up their acts.
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