Highlands Sports Complex WELL


Materials Concept Intent

The WELL Materials concept aims to reduce human exposure to hazardous building material ingredients through the restriction or elimination of compounds or products known to be toxic and the promotion of safer replacements. Compounds known to be hazardous to the health of occupational workers and/or known to bioaccumulate or aggregate in the environment are also restricted and, in some instances, not permitted.

X01: Fundamental Material Precautions

Focus: to reduce or eliminate human exposure to building materials known to be hazardous

Why it's Important:

Restricting the use of asbestos reduces exposure risk to the substance in instances where it might be disturbed. Limiting the amount of heavy metals used across various building materials also limits chances for exposure. Eliminating the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) removes a potential pathway to direct exposure. In the case of lead in pipes and plumbing, the prevalence of lead in drinking water is linked with corrosion of the lead-containing materials that make up water distribution systems. Minimizing the lead threshold in plumbing materials can help prevent hazardous levels of the substance from leaching into drinking water. Reducing hazards associated with lead also necessitates minimizing lead in other building materials, including paints. Lastly, because there is no known safe level of lead exposure for children and because children are more vulnerable to lead exposure than adults, further precautions must be taken to limit exposure through furniture that might have parts containing lead. Restriction of known hazardous ingredients found in building materials, specifically in those that are newly installed, aims to reduce risk of exposure, whether directly within the indoor environment or through environmental contamination. This also helps to push for reformulations of key building materials and products and promotes innovation in green chemistry.   

What Does It Mean:

Highlands Sports Complex has limited building materials and furnishing to be free of asbestos, mercury, and lead.

Asbestos Limits

Thermal systems, surface materials, and wallboards are asbestos free.

Mercury Limits

Illuminated exit signs, thermostats, switches, and electrical relays are mercury-free and are limited to certain thresholds in fluorescent and high-pressure sodium lamps throughout the complex.

Lead Limits

Drinking water systems and plumbing products are lead-free as defined by the Safe Drinking Water Act and certified by an ANSI Accredited third-party certification. All indoor paint and surface coatings have less than 90 ppm total lead.

X03: Exterior Materials and Structures

Focus: to mitigate environmental contamination and associated hazards resulting from treated outdoor structures and wood-plastic materials.

Why it's Important:

All types of chemically treated wood release small amounts of preservative components into the environment, which can be detected in soil or sediment samples. Chromium (VI), applied in CCA and used as a biocide in chemically treated wood products and materials, is a known human carcinogen. Evidence links chromium (VI) most strongly to lung cancer, but positive associations have also been seen with cancer of the nose and nasal sinuses. Up to 75% of the lumber produced in the United States from the mid-1970s to 2004 was pressure treated with CCA, which can leach arsenic into the soil, where children, plants and pets can be exposed. The greatest hazard posed by arsenic-containing biocides is potential exposure to arsenic leachate. Inorganic arsenic is highly toxic; studies show that the compound can increase the risk of skin, liver, bladder and lung cancers. Lead dangers, particularly for children, include wear and tear or flaking of paint found on older playground equipment. This is especially troublesome since children who engage in the ingestion of nonfood items are especially prone to exposure. Maintenance of external metal structures requires lead paint be removed prior to repainting, which further contributes to soil contamination. Other lead-containing materials, such as synthetic turf, can also degrade from use and form dust-containing lead at levels that can pose risk. Exposure to lead is associated with increased blood pressure. Additionally, exposure to lead during early development, even at low levels, is associated with negative impacts on intelligence quotient (IQ), learning, memory, and behavior. The restriction of toxic biocides for use on outdoor wood structures mitigates environmental contamination and associated exposure risks. Furthermore, guidelines for the use of wood-plastic materials promotes the use of high- and low- density polyethylene to create an effective closed-loop system of highly recyclable, environmentally preferable plastic products.

How We Know:

Highlands Sports Complex:


  • used only wood materials made since the banning of Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) in wood and contain no CCA in wood products used.
  • Lead wipe tests using EPA protocols on both indoor and outdoor artificial turf were performed and lead content was below the 40 µg/ft2
  • No new plastic lumber containing banned contaminates was used in the construction of the facilities. No wood-plastic composites, multiple co-mingled recycled consumer plastics, fiberglass in non-structural applications, and polystyrene or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) were used onsite.
  • Bare soil remaining after construction has been tested for lead using US Federal Code 40 CFR Part 745; Subpart L; §745.227, “Work practice standards for conducting lead-based paint activities: target housing and child-occupied facilities” and successfully met all thresholds for lead content.
  • Paint on playground equipment is assessed and, if necessary, remediated in accordance with guidelines set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission Staff Recommendations for Identifying and Controlling Lead Paint on Public Playground Equipment.

X09: Cleaning Products and Protocol

Focus: to reduce exposure to pathogens, allergens, and hazardous cleaning chemicals.

Why it's Important:

Commercial cleaning products may contain ingredients suspected to be hazardous to human health and the environment. For example, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alkylphenol ethoxylate, a common surfactant used in various cleaning products is associated with endocrine disruption in lab studies. Cleaning product ingredients can also contain vapors or gasses that irritate the nose, eyes, throat and lungs and can cause or trigger asthma attacks. Frequent use of household cleaning sprays is suspected to be a risk factor for adult asthma. A study of 329 custodians found dermal as well as upper and lower respiratory symptoms associated with increased commercial cleaning product use and exposure. Some ingredients can also be corrosive, causing burns to the eyes or skin during handling. Triclosan, one of the most well-studied biocides used in consumer hand hygiene products, is associated with cross-resistance to antibiotics in some laboratory studies. Although further studies are needed to determine efficacy and risks associated with biocides in consumer products, current findings have raised valid concerns on the use of biocides in consumer-facing products. Cleaning products can contain hazardous ingredients which compromise indoor air quality. Using products with ingredients that have been assessed for the most critical human health endpoints helps to improve indoor air quality and supports market demand for safer ingredients and improved product formulation. 

What We Do:

Highlands Sports Complex is working with the Ohio County Development Authority to:

Low Hazard Cleaning Products

Use cleaning products, soaps, shampoos, disinfection, and sanitization products that does not use the following carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reprotoxic substances: H340 (may cause genetic defects), H350 (may cause cancer), H360 (may damage fertility of the unborn child. Products used at the complex do not include systemic toxicity or organ effects H372 (causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure). Products that cause skin and respiratory irritation such as H317 (may cause an allergic skin reaction), or H334 (may cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled) are not purchased or used.

Cleaning Product Advocacy

Highlands Sports Complex and the Ohio County Development Authority have been trained in green cleaning procedures and have put together operations schedules that keep the complex clean and healthy based on the use of Greenseal products and disinfectants that meet EPA standards and meet the globally accepted label required for this concept and feature.