Demolition releases toxic residues, wood dust can be carcinogenic, and building materials often contain cancer-causing formaldehyde. Ready to get to work?

“Usually you remodel to make a house more beautiful, but you don't worry about it becoming more toxic,” Michelle Miller says. The former software entrepreneur launched SaferBuilding ( to draw attention to the little-known risks of common construction materials and methods. “Our focus is the safe part of green,” she says.

The San Francisco–based SaferBuilding “team” includes a plumber, tiler, painter, floor installer, demolition expert, and carpenter. They demolish and rebuild homes, evaluating the toxicity, off-gassing, dust quality, and other effects of everything from odor neutralizers to paints, sealants, and flooring materials. Findings are summarized in how-to sheets and environmental disclosure forms that can be purchased individually or in bulk. For $25 per month, remodelers can also “join” SaferBuilding, gaining access to the educational materials and demonstrating their awareness of safe building methods.