Web Forum

Healthy Homes: You Are Where You Live
Thursday, January 19, 2012 | 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM Pacific

The built environment is directly related to our health: you are where you live. In our first segment, we learned that built environment policies and regulations have a deep impact on our health. In this second segment, we will demonstrate how better building materials, coupled with stronger policies, can advance environmental health and social outcomes. In some cases, these changes can decrease or even reverse some of the most profound negative health consequences.

On average, people spend 90% of their time indoors and two thirds of that time in their own homes. Indoor pollutant levels can be two to five times higher, and occasionally more than 100 times higher, than outdoor pollutant levels. In addition to affecting building occupants, toxic chemicals used in building products can harm the communities where those products are manufactured and contribute to the global toxic burden. Stronger building practices and policies are needed to eliminate or mitigate these chemical risks to health.

During this Web Forum you will hear leading experts on green materials. Arlene Blum, founder and executive director of The Green Science Policy Institute, will discuss the regulatory framework, science, and health implications of chemicals in building products and materials. Bill Walsh, founder and executive director of the Healthy Building Network, will review common building industry practices and how they can improve them. Dana Bourland, vice president of Green Initiatives program at Enterprise, will discuss best practices of specific local projects, with a particular focus on HOPE SF. HOPE SF is a public-private partnership whose goal is to build green, affordable housing units in eight of San Francisco's severely distressed public housing sites, and overall, create healthy, thriving, mixed income communities without displacing current residents.

Join us in conversation on Twitter -- The San Francisco Foundation will tweet live during the Web Forum from @tsff using the hashtag #HealthyPeoplePlaces.






    Arlene Blum, PhD
    Visiting Scholar
    Department of Chemistry
    University of California, Berkeley
    Founder and Executive Director
    The Green Science Policy Institute
    Berkeley, CA

    Arlene Blum, PhDArlene Blum PhD, biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer is a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry, and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute. The Institute brings peer-reviewed science into policy to reduce the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products and protect our health and environment.

    Blum’s research and policy work has contributed to the prevention of the use of unneeded and toxic flame retardants in children's sleepwear, furniture, bed coverings and electronics. She has taught at Stanford University, Wellesley College, and U.C. Berkeley. (www.greensciencepolicy.org and www.arleneblum.com)

    Bill Walsh, JD, LLM
    Executive Director
    Healthy Building Network
    Washington, DC

    Bill Walsh, JD, LLMBill Walsh is Founder & Executive Director of the Healthy Building Network, whose mission is to transform the building materials market to promote best environmental, health, and social equity practices in the building industry. He also serves as Director of the Materials Research Collaborative, a joint venture with BuildingGreen, Inc. dedicated to increasing the disclosure of toxic contents and related health hazards in building products.

    Previously Bill coordinated the Energy, Forest and Toxic Campaigns of Greenpeace USA, and held staff attorney positions with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Institute for Public Representation of Georgetown University Law Center. (www.healthybuilding.net and www.buildinggreen.com)

    Yianice Hernandez
    Deputy Director
    Green Communities
    Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
    New York, NY

    Yianice HernandezAs Deputy Director of Green Communities, Yianice Hernandez oversees Enterprise’s comprehensive research and evaluation of the economic, environmental and health benefits of green affordable housing. Through this effort, Enterprise seeks to demonstrate that, by improving the performance of affordable housing developments through green methods and materials, it is possible to achieve lower operating costs due to energy and water conservation in addition to improvements in occupant health through the use of non-toxic materials and better ventilation. (www.enterprisecommunity.com)


    Francesca Vietor
    Program Officer
    The San Francisco Foundation
    San Francisco, CA

    Francesca VietorFrancesca Vietor is the President of The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), which sets policy for the City and County of San Francisco’s water, wastewater and municipal power services. She also serves as Program Officer for the Environment at the San Francisco Foundation and is a blogger for the Huffington Post.

    Francesca has been a dedicated voice and advocate for the environment for more than two decades. Previous political positions include President of the Urban Forest Council, Chairman of the Mayor’s Environmental Transition Team, President of the Environmental Commission for the City and County of San Francisco and Director of the City and County’s Department of the Environment. (www.sff.org)


The following documents are PDF versions of the speakers’ presentations and are intended to be used for reference only.

Blum/The Green Science Policy Institute

Walsh/Healthy Building Network

Hernandez/Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.


The following websites provide important background information that can enhance the Web Forum experience.

Health Product Declaration Forum


The organizations listed below have come together to sponsor this important effort:

Public Health Institute Logo The California Endowment

Public Health Institute

The California Endowment

The San Francisco Foundation

The San Francisco Foundation