How Metal Is Destroying the Environment
Metal building homes are the latest home building technology to be banned in the United States.
The American Home Furnishings Association (AHA) says that metal building is “an extremely environmentally destructive practice,” as the practice of crushing metal into “large-sized hollows” is a “significant source of lead emissions.”
“The metals used to construct these hollows have a high lead content and can result in significant lead exposure,” said AHA Executive Director, Dr. William Lacey.
The metal building home is also known as a “slab” home, and it is also the reason metal was banned in Europe.
“The AHA recognizes the critical role metal building has in the continued development of our communities,” Lacey said.
“While metal building does contribute to the climate and the environment, we do not support the practice in the US.
We are a global organization, and we need to act together to address climate change.”
In February, the AHA banned metal building in the UK and Germany as well, but those bans are set to expire in 2020.
The AHA said that the US was the only country to still allow metal building.
“It’s a decision made by the AIA, and not the US EPA,” Lacy said.
In the UK, the government said it would allow metal-framed houses, but in Germany, it will be limited to “wood-framing houses.”
In addition, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made it illegal to use a metal building for more than 10 years, according to the New York Times.
The EPA has also banned metal home appliances in the U.S., but has not banned metal homes.
“There are some other countries that have made a strong showing in the past that have allowed metal buildings to continue,” said Dr. Mark Osterholm, an environmental scientist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
“But it’s really hard to make that case in the current environment.”
The US has the second-highest lead contamination levels in the world, behind only China.
According to the EPA, the country’s lead emissions per capita are the fourth-highest in the industrialized world, but are still far below the world average.
The US Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) says the lead pollution is causing serious health problems for children, pregnant women, the elderly, and the poor.
In fact, EDF has documented a significant increase in children’s asthma and lung disease.
“We’ve seen some very serious cases of children having lead poisoning,” Osterheim said.
He said the US is also home to the largest lead-contaminated slabs in the western hemisphere.
“As much as we know about lead, it’s hard to really understand how many kids are actually living in slabs that are so much bigger than the norm,” Oterholm said.
The number of lead slabs has doubled in the last decade, and is on track to triple in the next 30 years.
Lead-contamination problems in the home were discovered by the New England Journal of Medicine, which has published the first scientific report on lead poisoning in the modern era.
“In a small number of cases, children have had symptoms of lead poisoning and were hospitalized in the hospital for treatment,” the journal wrote.
In May of this year, the lead contamination in the slabs was reported to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The FERC banned the use of metal building as well as all other home construction for residential purposes.
In a statement to The Associated Press, the FERC said that while it does not yet have a list of the specific slabs the agency has banned, “all materials used in metal construction are known to be lead sources, and lead-containing materials, such as concrete, are known by EPA to be toxic to humans and other animals.”
“Our goal is to ensure that lead abatement standards in the housing market are sufficient to ensure safe and effective housing and to ensure the health of the population,” the FERC said.
If you live in a home that is currently being constructed, contact your local building inspector.