Archive for the ‘Sustainable construction’ Category

As many PROSOCO staff members are gearing up for the International Living Future Institute’s Unconference this week, May 21-23, in Portland, Ore., we’re busy processing a buncLS-Declare-labelh of certifications and registrations that are relevant for the industry’s sustainable, resilient products crowd.

One of those we just got word on is the ILFI’s Declare label for our Consolideck® LS® lithium silicate concrete treatment. We’re extremely proud to say that this is the first-ever concrete finish to achieve this prestigious mark. Among other attributes, this third-party verification means that Consolideck® LS® is free of the Living Building Challenge v2.2 Red List chemicals of concern.

Consolideck® LS® and LS/CS® were also the first products to achieve third-party certification for indoor air quality performance by SCS Global Services, and they were the first concrete finishes to verify ingredient content through use of the Health Product Declaration open standard.

Since 2008, Consolideck® LS® and LS/CS® have been utilized to harden, dustproof, waterproof and beautify more than 400 million square feet of concrete floors.

Are you going to Living Future 2014 this week? Stop by the PROSOCO booth in the Plaza Foyer to learn more about our products and sustainability achievements, or read about our commitment to sustainability and transparency.

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At PROSOCO, we don’t often talk about how we’ve long been a leader in making resilient, high-performing products that leave a minimal impact on the environment. But late last week, wescs received recognition for some of our efforts that we’re particularly proud of. Four of our high-performance coating and sealant products have been certified by SCS Global Services as conformant with the SCS Indoor Advantage Gold™ standard, one of the most stringent qualifiers of indoor air quality in the industry.

Three of those products reside in the PROSOCO R-GUARD® family of products, which are formulated to prevent unwanted movement of water and air through building envelopes:

And a product in our Consolideck® line of high-performance products for sustainable concrete floors was also certified with the SCS Indoor Advantage Gold standard:

These four newly certified products represent just the latest in a long list of PROSOCO products that have earned this certification over the past six years. Read the entire list of third-party certifications for R-GUARD and Consolideck®.

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Congratulations to Weiss Building & Development LLC, which came in first place at the Department of Energy’s Challenge Home Builder Awards in the systems builder category. The winning project was a house in River Forest, Ill., which was built to the requirements of the Passive House Institute as well as the DOE’s Challenge Home program.

Four PROSOCO R-GUARD® products helped deliver the energy efficiency that the DOE award aims to recognize – FastFlash®, AirDam, Spray Wrap and Joint & Seam Filler.

Passive House Consultant Tom Bassett-Dilley and Eric Barton of concrete contractor Biltmore Insulated Concrete also made this project possible.

Learn more about the PROSOCO line of R-GUARD® products used on this award-winning home:

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Peter Syrett, Chair of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative, announces the launch of the HPD V1.0 from the Greenbuild Expo floor. Dwayne Fuhlhage photo

Peter Syrett, Chair of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative, announces the launch of the HPD V1.0 from the Greenbuild Expo floor. Dwayne Fuhlhage photo

In this guest post, PROSOCO’s Sustainability and Environment Director Dwayne Fuhlhage offers a look at the state of materials and chemical disclosure and avoidance, and transparency in labeling heading into 2013.

The Year of Living Transparently
by Dwayne Fuhlhage, CHMM; Sustainability and Environment Director

Welcome to 2013! Are you ready for emerging building sustainability trends?

The annual US Green Building Council (USGBC) Greenbuild conference in San Francisco capped off 2012 with a preview of some major trends and memes for this year and beyond:

1. The sustainable building movement is already a prime player in building and community resiliency. USGBC and its partners will be part of the conversation on taking resilience to the next level.

2. What is inside building products matters and the design community will begin scrutinizing content through transparency oriented standards like the Health Product Declaration (HPD). The LEED ratings system will reward transparency and select chemical avoidance by a yet-to-be-finalized mechanism in new Materials and Resources credits in LEED V4 and through new Pilot Credits.

3. Despite rumors to the contrary and aggressive lobbying on the part of some chemical industry players, the LEED ratings system will continue to be a prominent trendsetter in the push towards improved building performance.

As a member of the LEED Indoor Environmental Quality Technical Advisory Group (IEQ TAG) and participant in the Health Product Declaration (HPD) pilot project, I’ve had the privilege of seeing the debate on materials and chemical disclosure and avoidance play out in real time over the last year and a half.

Author Dwayne Fuhlhage (right) takes a minute to smile for the camera with fellow volunteer members of the LEED Indoor Environmental Quality Technical Advisory Group at Greenbuild.

Author Dwayne Fuhlhage (right) takes a minute to smile for the camera with fellow volunteer members of the LEED Indoor Environmental Quality Technical Advisory Group at Greenbuild.

To say this involves a diverse set of stakeholders is an understatement. The discussions were at times loud and fractious, but we collectively had the same goal of improving communication on the presence of hazardous materials in construction products.

The LEED V4 Materials and Resources credit approach will be settled between now and membership balloting later this year. This credit will be a big deal as LEED V4 is phased in project by project through 2015 and it is currently available in the form of a Pilot Credit. In the meantime, I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

Chemical disclosure and avoidance is already here.

Shortly before Greenbuild, the HPD working group incorporated as a non-profit and became the HPD Collaborative of which PROSOCO is a Founding Sponsor.

We’re in good company with design and specification firms including HDR, PERKINS+WILL, Turner, CANNONDESIGN, boora architects, Gensler, SERA, HOK, and SKANSKA among others.

You can see the list and support the Collaborative at http://www.hpdcollaborative.org/support.

These firms have taken a leadership position that will be emulated by others. Google has claimed this project as one of its own through sponsorship of the HPD Collaborative and a grant of $3 million to the USGBC for policy research on chemicals of concern.

Seriously, if any of these decision makers requests Health Product Declarations as a condition for specification, how will manufacturers react? Will they respond by saying “I don’t want your business”? Some might, but I think they would be outliers. The HPD is set to become the new normal in a relatively short time.

This should not imply that HPD preparation will always be easy. Manufacturers must pick apart every component of every raw material to find out what is inside. Communication through the supply chain is a challenge, with many suppliers having their own intellectual property priorities. Supply chains change and some raw materials have component variability.

Intellectual property is a difficult discussion topic between finished product manufacturers and transparency advocates as well. PROSOCO’s default position will be to increase transparency on chemicals of concern while maintaining key bits of information on functional ingredients as intellectual property in accordance with the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. That sounds like legalistic, weasel wording, but pay close attention to the phrase “chemicals of concern”.

The core list of chemicals of concern comes from Clean Production Action’s GreenScreen tool http://www.cleanproduction.org/Green.php.

From my perspective, prioritizing disclosure of chemicals of concern is the right approach as it gives innovative manufacturers some space to create better technologies without losing their competitive edge.

Beyond that, I think it appropriate for coatings and sealants manufacturers to be able to highlight their efforts to eliminate chemicals of concern. As an example, PROSOCO has systematically eliminated California Proposition 65 chemicals whenever possible over the last fifteen years. This has been a priority in creating the Consolideck® finished concrete flooring product line from the ground up.


Prove it — Rick Fedrizzi, Founder of USGBC, shares his perspectives on proving performance and health characteristics of building products at the USGBC 2012 Opening Plenary at Greenbuild.

The policy behind chemical avoidance priorities is a long way from being settled. The debate will continue and it will likely be contentious.

Some common materials, including crystalline silica and titanium dioxide, are listed as chemicals of concern absent the context of only being toxic by inhalation of fine particles. On the other hand, some technologies only exist because of legacy chemicals that are rapidly falling out of favor. Manufacturers dependent on legacy chemicals are putting up a good fight. Regardless, I think the broad usage of Health Product Declarations will help separate the wheat from the chaff.

There are a lot of “green” products on the market that don’t look so green once we strip off the marketing veneer. As an example, I look forward to our competitors openly divulging the need to use solvents to dilute their products before application. We need a level playing field and building professionals and owners deserve accurate information.

Consolideck® products will be the first in PROSOCO’s lineup to received HPD chemical reviews as designers are most concerned with occupied space. This is in conjunction with PROSOCO’s implementation of an enterprise level software tool, the WERCS, for producing new OSHA Globally Harmonized System (GHS) conformant Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

The GHS regulation requires a total revamp of the former MSDS and professional use product labels by June, 2015. You will see the first batch of SDSs in the near future.

This combined effort would be a challenge for manufacturers of any size and has set a high bar for PROSOCO’s staff in its 75th year. We’re committed to making this work because, frankly, we need to live with our specifying customers.

Additional Reading:
Sustainable Industries on trends for 2013: http://sustainableindustries.com/articles/2013/01/green-building-watch

BuildingGreen on the Google grant: http://www.cleanproduction.org/Green.php

LEEDUser forum on LEED V4: http://www.leeduser.com/blogs/leed-v4-public-comment-forum-leed-takes-new-direction

PROSOCO’s coverage of Greenbuild 2012 on Storify: http://storify.com/John_at_PROSOCO/the-building-envelope-at-greenbuild-2012

About the Author

Dwyane Fuhlhage

Dwyane Fuhlhage

Dwayne Fuhlhage is the Sustainability and Environment Director for PROSOCO. He is a member of USGBC’s LEED Indoor Environmental Technical Advisory Group (IEQ TAG) where he serves as the coatings and sealants subject matter expert and participates in the drafting and maintenance of LEED standards. He has been involved in AIM VOC rulemaking activities at the district, state and federal level and is an active member of related ACA and CSPA committees. Dwayne is a member of the greener chemistry oriented NSF/GCI 355 ANSI Joint Committee and a Liaison member of the NSF/UL ANSI Health Based Emissions Standard Joint Committee.

HPD Collaborative leaders facilitate a discussion on "Using Your Own Power to Transform the Materials Ecosystem" during a Greenbuild educational session. Dwayne Fuhlhage photo

HPD Collaborative leaders facilitate a discussion on “Using Your Own Power to Transform the Materials Ecosystem” during a Greenbuild educational session. Dwayne Fuhlhage photo

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A practical perspective by RCI, Inc. and SWRInstitute

Editor’s note
Just got permission to share this Position Paper on sustainability co-authored by representatives from two of the construction industry’s most knowledgeable organizations. These are the experts, and the people who in many cases, the experts consult. The membership of these two groups includes manufacturers, contractors, architects, forensic investigators and more. Their “official” descriptions follow at the paper’s conclusion. Given their high level of experience and expertise, I think their views on sustainability and “green” are must-read for everyone in the business. — Gary

Seven-story apartment complex 901 New Hampshire in Lawrence, Kan., goes up in Spring 2011 with a (tan) vapor permeable primary air & water barrier on Densglass structural walls for energy-efficiency and weatherproofing the building envelope. Click pic for story ~ photo by Stephen Falls

“Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environments.” — U.S. Department of Energy

Sustainable Construction; What it means to you
A position paper by RCI, Inc. and The Sealant Waterproofing & Restoration Institute (SWR Institute)

Over the past decade anyone involved in construction has had reason to question how their work product impacts the environment and the resources future generations will rely upon. Whether compelled to do so by regulators enforcing environmental responsibility, design professionals insisting on “sustainable” construction products, or owners mandating more energy efficient buildings, demand for sustainable construction has increased in an economy that has seen a sharp decline in more traditional building practices.

Today that demand has become a market force in its own right. A rapidly growing number of electronic and print publications now promote differing ways to achieve “sustainable design”, advertise increasingly efficient building systems, and promote a wide range of building materials derived from recycled or renewable resources. Additionally, many building owners have placed a disproportionate emphasis on obtaining accreditation status for their buildings versus emphasizing long-term performance. Too little emphasis, however, has been placed on durability of building systems, the need for proactive maintenance, and benefits of restoring existing buildings as means to achieve sustainability.

RCI, Inc. and SWRInstitute Perspective
To achieve sustainable construction, emphasis must be placed on design and construction of the building envelope systems.

In addition to new construction, we, the members of RCI, Inc., and SWRInstitute devote much of our expertise to the design, repair, maintenance and restoration of building envelopes. Buildings that we work on vary from those in design phase to ones that have survived generations. With experience with older buildings constructed of traditional materials, and newer buildings that incorporate sustainable building materials and energy efficient components, ours is a unique perspective on the truly sustainable nature of modern building envelopes.

Over the last two decades, RCI and SWRInstitute members have been witness to a flurry of premature building system failures that have required us to undertake significant demolition, investigation, re-design and repair of modern structures. When such extreme measures are required on recent buildings, the benefits promoted as part of that building’s original “sustainable” design” are negated. Our clients – the building owners – are justifiably frustrated. They should not have to endure considerable inconvenience and cost to bring their “new” building back into a serviceable condition.

These costly failures and performance shortcomings have led RCI, Inc. and SWRInstitute to conclude that the most important consideration in achieving beneficial sustainability is durability. A durable building (or building system) is one that can achieve its intended service life with only routine maintenance. Without durability, the benefits of sustainable construction quickly vanish. Building systems that are not durable require costly repairs. They will also require new materials and energy for their repairs, adversely impacting our environment.

Numerous RCI and SWRInstitute case studies make clear that the durability of complex building envelopes is often compromised by premature failure of a single, integral component. Many such “weak links” were incorporated by well-meaning design professionals as sustainable alternatives to more proven technology. Their failure starts a chain reaction that fuels progressive decay of entire assemblies.

Durability shortcomings stem from several factors including the following:

1. Inadequate Design: Unless a building system is designed properly, it will not achieve its anticipated service life. Proper design requires a thorough understanding of how that building system will function, how it will integrate with other building systems, and which component can be the weakest link. To avoid design failures, experience with traditional systems and of the in-service strengths and weaknesses of sustainable alternatives is essential.

2. Inadequate Workmanship/Construction: Without skilled workmanship and proper execution, a well-designed building system will not achieve its intended service life. RCI, Inc. and SWRInstitute’s collective experience indicates that use of specialized contractors, and proper quality control/quality assurance, will increase the likelihood of achieving more durable construction.

3. Material/System Shortcomings: Sustainable construction has created a demand for numerous sustainable materials and systems. However, short track records and/or inadequate product development of such new systems can lead to disappointing performance in the real world. Another frequent contributor to premature failure is use of sustainable materials in ways the manufacturer never intended.

4. Inadequate Maintenance: While a durable building system should be able to reach its expected service life without unanticipated repairs, no construction material or system can function indefinitely without periodic inspections and/or routine maintenance. Some performance and service life shortcomings stem from improper maintenance, or lack of maintenance altogether.

What Sustainability Should Mean to Building Owners
With the above in mind, it is RCI, Inc.’s and SWRInstitute’s collective position that building owners should exercise caution when embracing the sustainable construction movement. Although we acknowledge the need to protect our environment and agree that sustainable construction should be integrated into our industry, no building owner can truly benefit from a sustainable building if the building cannot reach its expected service life without the need for unanticipated repairs. To that end, adopting policies that encourage durability is a necessary step towards achieving sustainability.

One final factor that must not be overlooked is the inherent sustainability of preserving and restoring existing buildings. Too often structurally sound older buildings – viable structures that could be restored and retrofitted for future use – are demolished and replaced with new energy- efficient structures. Before such extreme measures are taken in the name of sustainability, consideration needs to be given to the embodied energy and environmental impact of the resultant construction debris, and the costs and resources consumed by new construction.

Final Thoughts
While the sustainability movement promises many good things, we encourage building owners to consider how greater emphasis on building durability – and restoration of existing buildings – impact their financial interests, and the environment.

Sustainable buildings must survive to provide a financial justification for their construction, and benefit the environment.

In the opinion of RCI, Inc. and SWRInstitute members, it is often more environmentally responsible (and financially prudent) to restore an existing building than to build a new one.

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RCI is an international association of building envelope consultants. Their members specialize in design, investigation, repair and management of roofing, exterior wall, and waterproofing systems.

The Sealant Waterproofing & Restoration Institute (SWR Institute) is an international trade association. Their members are some of the most experienced and qualified contractors, manufacturers and design professionals in the industry.

Through their strategic alliance, these organizations have observed, analyzed and compiled opinions of many industry leaders regarding sustainability.

Built in 1904 and abandoned for the last few years, the Poehler Building in East Lawrence is getting a new life as apartments. Occupancy is set for July 2012. Click pic for story. Stephen Falls photo

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PROSOCO’s Director of Regulatory Affairs Dwayne Fuhlhage offers this perspective on proposed revisions to Indoor Environmental Quality requirements in the draft version of LEED 2012.

LEED 2012 Second Public Comment Period

by Dwayne Fuhlhage, CHMM; Regulatory Affairs Director

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) recently released the second draft of LEED 2012 for stakeholder review and comment by Sept. 14, 2011.

With final adoption of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) on the horizon and the Living Building Challenge nipping at its heels, the USGBC is focused on taking green building to the next level.

The proposed revision substantially increases Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) requirements for coatings, sealants and adhesives by moving from proof of regulatory VOC compliance to passing emissions testing.

If you found this blog entry after the comment deadline, keep reading.

USGBC will be listening to stakeholders well past the deadline. GREENBUILD will feature a LEED 2012 lounge where attendees can talk with USGBC staff and Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) members directly. Each TAG, including the IEQ TAG, will have scheduled times to discuss specific credit areas.

The USGBC was among the first to reward use of small-chamber VOC emissions testing by providing an EQ credit path in LEED for Schools. This was PROSOCO’s primary reason for being an early adopter (in the coatings industry) with our SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certified Consolideck products.

By contrast, LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovation calls out compliance with the 2004 version of SCAQMD Rule 1113 as the path to credit.

The LEED 2012 approach includes a substantive revision and realignment of the EQ credit system, including the EQ Credit for Low-Emitting Interiors as summarized:

• The only path to credit is through independent small chamber emissions testing of products utilized in building interiors. The cited method is the California Department of Public Health’s Standard Method for the Testing and Evaluation of Volatile Organic Chemical Emissions for Indoor Sources Using Environmental Chambers, Version 1.1.

• The credit rolls all interior products into one systems approach.

• The credit provides 1-3 points based on the percentage of combined interior surface area that is tested and demonstrated to be conformant (50% = 1 point, 70% = 2 points, 90% = 3 points).

• Conformance determination includes every layer in the system.

School example
I talked with someone who helped write the draft to better understand how the layer approach works. I’ll use a school floor as an example.

Many schools contain a mixture of finished and decorative concrete and various coverings such as carpet and resilient materials. Throw in a locker room, a wood floored gymnasium and swimming pool and the materials list gets quite a bit longer.

Our theoretical school then has the following materials: carpet, linoleum, recycled rubber tiles, concrete curing compound, concrete stain, concrete hardener, concrete finish, epoxy in the locker rooms and laboratories, control joint sealants, a swimming pool coating, and high-durability wood coating and line striping for the gym.

In order to contribute to credit, every one of these materials would require testing. Any area with multiple layers where any one layer is not tested would not be eligible for credit.

To put that in perspective, a floor might have a general application of a curing compound and a hardener with carpet and adhesive applied over it. Even if every other material is tested, an adhesive that was not CDPH tested would cause that entire area to not count towards the credit thresholds.

Some non-conformant products allowed
The credit’s tiered point approach does allow for some non-conformant products. That’s a good thing from my perspective. I’ve received multiple inquiries from LEED project team members looking for miscellaneous specialty coatings for LEED for Schools projects.

Sometimes we can help; sometimes we can’t. PROSOCO has concrete flatwork pretty well covered, but the volume of anti-graffiti coatings we could sell for the occasional interior CMU specification doesn’t merit the $2,800 outlay for CDPH chamber testing.

From a general perspective, LEED for Schools has proved to be an interesting proving ground for the CDPH emissions approach. Apparently, enough project teams were having problems finding products that the USGBC Executive Committee approved an alternative approach allowing compliance with South Coast Rule 1113 to gain credit (LEED for Schools PIEACP dated July 7, 2008).

Many of the questions posted on the LEEDUser forum on this topic relate to proper regulatory categorization of coatings as opposed to finding conformant CDPH tested products. See LEEDUser Schools IEQc4.2

This leads to fundamental questions: Is the existing LEED for Schools IEQ Credit 4.2 working as intended? Is it a good model for all new construction and major renovations certifying or specifying to LEED standards?

I think conformant specialty coatings will remain difficult to find. Some manufacturers will get out ahead and have the testing done, but for small-volume niche products or formulations adjusted often based on raw materials availability or regulatory drivers, the economics may not work out.

What do you think?

I’d like to hear from readers and USGBC wants to hear from stakeholders. You have two avenues for formal comments. The traditional route is through the USGBC website at LEED Rating System Development

The new, interactive route is through the LEEDUser forums. USGBC will consider substantive comments from the forums. Here’s an overview.

In a recent member’s only webinar on the new MR credit system, USGBC staff reiterated their desire to get LEED 2012 right. There may or may not be a third comment period.

In addition to the LEED 2012 lounge, they are encouraging hallway conversations at GREENBUILD in Toronto to help gain insights in to what moves the bar without breaking it. Assuming my Passport comes in time, maybe I’ll see you there.

I can be contacted at dwayne.fuhlhage@prosoco.com or by toll-free phone at PROSOCO’s corporate office – 800-255-4255.

About the Author: Dwayne Fuhlhage is the corporate regulatory manager for PROSOCO. Dwayne is a member of the USGBC LEED IEQ Technical Advisory Group, ASTM E60 Committee on Sustainability and the ASTM D22.05Committee on Indoor Air Quality. Dwayne serves as PROSOCO’s representative to the American Coatings Association and the Consumer Specialty Products Association where he participates in various VOC, environmental marketing and chemicals management policy committees.
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CALGreen, the nation’s first green building code, went into force Jan. 1 in the world’s eighth-largest economy. PROSOCO’s Regulatory Affairs Director Dwayne Fuhlhage offers this report on how the new code affects specifiers of regulated paints, coatings and sealants.

CALGreen Declarations
by Dwayne Fuhlhage, CHMM
Regulatory Affairs Director

The agencies in charge of implementing CALGreen are gradually putting some meat on its bones.

In the case of the Department of Housing and Community Development, that means putting together certification forms for purposes of determining conformance with CALGreen residential building requirements.

It appears the standard of care for specifying VOC compliant construction materials has gone up a couple of notches. This is an excerpt from the new Declaration Statement form for paints and coatings found in the Pollutant Control Forms section of the website:

The following section shall be completed by a person with overall responsibility for the planning and design portion of the project.
● I certify under penalty of perjury, under the laws of the State of California, the information provided is true and correct.
● I certify that the installed measures, materials, components, or manufactured devices identified on this certificate conform to all applicable codes and regulations, and the installation is consistent with the plans and specifications approved by the enforcing agency.

What does this mean for the architect or architectural specifier? To be honest, there has always been legal responsibility involved in the selection of paints and coatings through enforcement of various AIM VOC regulations.

The difference is that nobody outside of the regulated product manufacturers had to sign certifications like the one above. Even that was generally for poorly enforced reporting obligations.

Also, day-to-day AIM VOC regulation enforcement is spotty at best. Even the largest Air Quality Management District staff in the state has only a handful of field inspectors.

Now, every code official will become the de facto enforcement official for AIM VOC compliance and will drive responsibility back to the general contractor and the architect of record.

If you are specifying regulated paints, coatings and sealants, make sure your vendor can demonstrate knowledge on how the new CARB AIM VOC Suggested Control Measure (SCM) applies to their products.

Category definitions and limits have changed effective January 1. The CARB SCM definitions aren’t consistent with South Coast AQMD’s Rule 1113 definitions, either. This is an important factor if you are doing LEED projects as EQ credit criteria (based on South Coast 2004 Rule 1113 compliance) which won’t necessarily match the CARB SCM conformance criteria as defined in CALGreen.

Check out our new white paper on CALGreen for more information on CALGreen in general and how it impacts coatings and sealants.

Questions? dwayne.fuhlhage@prosoco.com

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