Healthy Affordable Materials Project

The Healthy Affordable Materials Project seeks to improve the lives and health of affordable housing residents by reducing the use of many common toxic materials currently found in building products. Through the use of healthier building products and furnishings, the built environment will contribute to the improved health of all people, especially lowest income communities.

The project’s collaborative goal is to increase the adoption of healthier building protocols and practices within the affordable housing sector, leading to measurable increase in building product specifications that reflect healthier choices. This change will result in reduced exposure throughout the ecosystem by decreasing or eliminating known harmful chemicals from building products and furnishings widely used in affordable housing.

Within The New School, the project is led by the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design. Healthy Materials Lab is an interdisciplinary, international, and professionally diverse collective of graduate students, alumni, and faculty with backgrounds in media, architecture, design, community development, education, and business. The Healthy Materials Lab is committed to raising awareness about toxics in building products and to creating resources for the next generation of designers and architects to make healthier places for all people to live.

The Healthy Materials Lab also manages the Donghia healthier Materials Library, which is a resource for students, faculty, practitioners, and researchers from around the world to find material samples, evaluative tools, and in-person support. This is located on The New School campus in New York at 25 E 13th St, 3rd floor.

In addition, Healthy Affordable Materials Lab has generated and collected an extensive collection of tools and guides to help designers, architects, homeowners, and developers make more informed choices about building materials and health. The Lab’s website also features valuable case study research and collections of healthier building materials.

The Healthy Affordable Materials Project is a four-part collaborative supported by a grant from The JPB Foundation.



Healthy Building Network (HBN), Gina Ciganik

Green Science Policy Institute (GSPI), Arlene Blum

Healthy Product Declaration Collaborative, Wendy Vittori


Parsons School of Design


Healthy Materials Lab


Healthy Living Studio

Materials & Health in Context

Empowering Healthy Futures

Material Impacts

Healthier Materials and Sustainable Buildings – Online Certificate with Parsons

This certificate program is intended to both complement existing Parsons degree programs and serve as continuing education for professionals. The four courses cover information required in the design of more healthful interiors. Learning benefits and outcomes include the ability to compare products and materials used in the built environment, explain the importance of designing with non-toxic materials, evaluate products and materials, identifying hazards and comparing suitable options, set criteria, analyze product information, and specify materials.


Tools and guides

Case study research

Collections of healthier building materials


See all team

Other Current Members of Healthy Materials Lab

Faculty Researchers: Andy Bernheimer, Catherine Murphy, David Leven, Helen Quinn, Lucille Tenazas

Full-Time Researcher: Jack Dinning

Post Graduate Research Fellow: Gamar Markarian, Lena Kouvela,

Research Associates: Addie Kramer, Allison Sloan, Eve DeAngelis

Student Assistants: Anna Shen, Anurag Jain, Abdul Qadir Barbhaya, Shayna Lewis, Natalie Spies, Susannah Weaver, Mikaela Dillon, Alexandra Anez

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