This conversation between Marilyn Howarth, of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, and Franca Trubiano, architect and associate professor at the Weitzman School of Design, speaks to the ubiquitous use of chemically synthesized materials in the built environment and the very real human health risks associated with living with so many polymers that are derived from petroleum, coal, and natural gas. For more than fifty years, a majority of materials that surround us have been chemically engineered from fossil fuels for the purposes of achieving a range of advanced performance capacities. This continued practice is obviously problematic for carbon emissions; it is all the more critical for human health. Throughout the entire lifecycle of polymerized materials, they are dangerous to humans. And yet, the deliberate and orchestrated flooding of the construction market with inexpensive plastics, continues unabated, with very little data being disclosed about the potential health risks associated with adopting such large quantities of nonrenewable, nonrecyclable, and wasteful materials. Indeed, when these materials become part of the waste stream of communities, unintended consequences to human health multiply. Through incineration, landfills, particle leaching and transportation, and water contamination, fence-line communities are most severely impacted by the non-biodegradable nature of nearly all polymers. Case studies local to the city of Philadelphia will be addressed including long term implications of legacy waste from the PES refinery and environment justice issues associated with municipal waste dumps in Eastwick Pa. Important implications for the design community of building with so many non-cradle-to-cradle fossil-based materials, will also be discussed.