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Long Island Non-Profit Receives Grants to Address Environmental Justice Concerns

Release Date: 11/16/2000
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(#00209) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted $20,000 to a non-profit group on Long Island to help them address environmental justice issues in the Brentwood community. Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin or income, in how the nation’s environmental laws are developed, complied with and enforced.

The Brentwood Council of Parents/Teacher/Student Associations, in collaboration with the Brentwood Union Free School District and Dr. Luz Claudio of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, will use the grant to investigate a suspected correlation between high incidences of childhood asthma and cancer in Brentwood and North Bay Shore (Brentwood School District) and toxic waste sites in the area.

Through prior studies conducted by the Brentwood/Bay Shore Breast Cancer Coalition and health care professionals working in the Brentwood School District, it has been noted that this geographic area appears to have a high and disproportionate incidence of childhood cancer and childhood asthma. Grant monies would be applied for a survey and study to learn the extent and severity of asthma and cancer among the low-income target population in the area. The information will be mapped to help determine if there is a correlation between the incidence of asthma and childhood cancer and the location of the toxic waste sites.

In its 1992 report, Environmental Equity: Reducing Risk for All Communities, EPA found that minority and low-income populations may experience higher than average exposure to toxic pollutants than the general population. In response, EPA established the Office of Environmental Justice in 1992 to help these communities identify and assess sources of pollution in their midst, and to inform and train residents so they can be involved in making environmental improvements in their neighborhoods.