LOWELL-The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell today announced funding totaling $57,409 for seven community grant projects designed to reduce toxic chemical use across the Commonwealth.
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The individual grant amounts range from $500 for a Boy Scout who will reduce lead sinkers used in recreational fishing to $12,000 for the Vietnamese-American Institute for Development to promote safer floor finishing products to prevent fire hazards. “The diversity of these projects highlights how all of us can reduce toxic chemical use at the source to make our lives healthier and safer,” said Rachel Massey, Community Program Manager at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute. “I am excited about the incredible level of energy, commitment, and knowledge each of the grant recipients brings to the program,” Massey continued. The newly funded grants are:
- Safe Shops Project. Project Manager Tiffany Skogstrom, Safe Shops Project Manager, Boston Public Health Commission. Total funding $11,809. The Boston Public Health Commission will help auto repair shops in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan to adopt safer alternatives to perchloroethylene ( ’Perc’ )-based aerosol brake cleaners. They will also work with auto body and paint shops to replace toluene, xylene and acetone used to clean paint spray guns.
- Auto Shop Alternatives Project. Project Manager Megan Baldwin, Sanitarian, Town of Watertown Health Department. Total funding $5,000. The Town of Watertown Health Department will provide training for approximately 45 auto shop owners in Watertown. The town will also provide selected auto shops lead-free wheel weights such as tin, zinc and steel to pilot test the performance and encourage replacement.
- Healthy Floor Finishing Project. Project Manager Hiep Chu, Executive Director, Vietnamese-American Institute for Development ( Viet-AID ), Dorchester, Massachusetts. Total funding $12,000. To protect floor finishing workers from highly flammable and toxic products, the Healthy Floor Finishing Project will train a group of Boston area Vietnamese floor finishers in alternative, safer products. Viet-AID will distribute fire prevention and health and safety information and develop an educational program in Vietnamese for cable television.
- Youth Grant: Lead Fishing Weight Exchange Project. Project Manager Michael Browne, Milton, Massachusetts ( Eagle Scout Project ), Boy Scout Troup 5, Great Blue Hill District of the Boston Minuteman Council. Total funding $500. Fifteen-year-old Michael Browne will undertake the Lead Fishing Weight Exchange Project to earn his Eagle Scout rank. Michael will distribute educational materials about the dangers of lead for wild game, birds and fish to 500 Boston area Boy Scouts, families and area residents. To reach his goal of removing 40 to 60 pounds of lead from the use of recreational fishing, he will attend fishing derbies and offer lead-free sinkers in exchange for lead sinkers.
- Union Toxics Use Reduction Capacity Building. Project Managers Tolle Graham and Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, MassCOSH, Dorchester. Total funding $11,600. The goal of this project is to educate union members about the options for toxics use reduction in the workplace. The first phase of trainings will focus on 11 unions associated with industries that use toxic chemicals perchloroethylene, lead, hexavalent chromium, and DEHP—four of the five chemicals recently studied in the TURI “Five Chemicals Study.”
- Integrated Pesticide Management ( IPM ) Educator Training in Public Housing Project ( second year ). Project Manager Patricia Hynes, Center for Healthy Homes and Neighborhoods at Boston University’s School of Public Health. Total funding $11,500. Public housing managers or residents often resort to using dangerous pesticides within apartments to eliminate pests. The IPM Educator Training is focused on long-term prevention. Residents, building managers, housing authorities, private multi-family property owners, and pest control contractors will be trained on safer strategies to control pests, such as source reduction and habitat modification.
- Healthy Lawns for Healthy Families Project ( third year ). Project Manager Jessica Cajigas, Town of Westford Water Department. Project funding $5,000. Now in its third year, the goal of this project is to raise awareness on a regional basis of the link between pesticide use reduction and protecting water resources and human health. Brochures, materials, and presentations about safer lawn care will be distributed to 13 towns, homeowners, garden centers, pediatricians, veterinarians, and lawn care providers. A series of organic lawn care workshops for homeowners and professional landscapers will be offered in April.
For more information about the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, visit www.turi.org. UMass Lowell offers its 11,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu. ###
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