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Building Products and Chemistry

Parsons School of Design via FutureLearn


Understand the current regulations in the chemical industry

On this three-week course, you’ll take a deep dive into the chemical industry and explore the absence of chemical regulation. You’ll investigate the chemicals we are exposed to in the home and built environment, and how healthier materials can be selected instead.

By the end, you’ll understand how chemistry is relevant to human health and shaping the world we live in.

Explore green chemistry

To help reduce hazardous substances, you’ll explore green chemistry and how the design of these chemical products and processes can fit into the big picture of making positive change.

You’ll explore the current environmental regulations and both the barriers and advocates for change.

Understand chemical classification in the built environment

You’ll gain an introduction to how chemicals are classified and the classes related to materials and health.

Through case studies, you’ll explore relevant hazards in building materials and chemicals of concern.

With this knowledge, you’ll understand the criteria for a healthier project.

Explore design principles and strategies

On the final week of the course, you’ll explore the strategies and guiding principles for designers in a healthier built environment.

You’ll learn techniques for engaging designers as you explore the different phases of a project and how to become an advocate for better building products and chemistry.

This course is designed for anyone interested in material health and the effect chemicals in materials have on human health and sustainability in the built environment.

You may work in the industry or simply be passionate about the health of populations and the environment.


  • Unregulated Chemicals in the Building Industry
    • Welcome to the Course!
    • Absence of Chemical Regulation
    • Barriers to Change
    • Industry Advocacy
    • Week 1 Wrap-Up
  • Material Systems, Evaluations and Design
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • Classifying Chemicals
    • Chemicals of Concern
    • Setting Healthier Project Criteria
    • Week 2 Wrap-Up
  • Strategies and Guiding Principles for Designers
    • Welcome to Week 3
    • Education Phase
    • Goal and Pre-Search Phases
    • Search Phase
    • Course Wrap-up

Taught by

Alison Mears


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