Well, maybe not.
A new report from Environment and Human Health, Inc. criticizes LEED and other green building certification programs for failing to include health as an important part of what it means to be green. Thousands of different chemicals, many of them known to be hazards to human health, become components of building materials and LEED does little to ensure that they are kept out. What's worse, by virtue of their energy efficiency, LEED-certified buildings that include dangerous chemicals in their building materials may actually increase our exposure to toxins. One of the factors that makes green buildings green is the fact that they have tighter envelopes compared to other buildings and this may create intensified exposures to toxins if they are present in building materials. The report also criticizes LEED for failing to include strong assurances of safe, quality drinking water and for not restricting the use of pesticides in landscaping or ensuring that they don't seep into groundwater.
The reports strongest critique, however, is reserved for the US federal government which has failed to protect public health through strong testing and regulation of chemicals used in everyday life.
Hazardous chemicals have become components of LEED-certified indoor environments primarily due to the failures of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and EPA’s neglect of the problem. Congress has provided EPA with limited authority to require testing of likely hazardous chemicals in building products. Thus new products may incorporate tens of thousands of untested chemicals with no government oversight.
The report ends with recommendations for improving LEED by giving more weight to those aspects of buildings that effect health.