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EPA Grants Will Help Massachusetts Create Healthy Communities

Release Date: 11/30/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner (rosner.sheryl@epa.gov), EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2005; Release # sr051103

(Boston, MA) – Nine projects in Massachusetts were awarded $336,092 by the US Environmental Protection Agency to help create healthy and livable communities in the state.

“When we invest in local environmental health we invest in our children and their future,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Here in Massachusetts, EPA is working with organizations in the community to protect and improve the environment so all children and families can breathe clean air, drink clean water and live and learn in communities that are free from environmental risks.”

Eight of the grants announced today totaling $236,100, were among 23 selected in New England this year through EPA New England’s Healthy Communities Grant Program. The other award was given by EPA headquarters as a targeted grant to reduce childhood lead poisoning. This $99,992 grant went to the Medical Foundation for Lead Action Collaborative, which aims to eliminate lead poisoning in Boston by 2008. The money will be used for a project called “Ending Childhood Lead Poisoning in Boston: Targeting High Risk Housing, Focusing Resources.” This project will involve multi-media education and outreach to reduced incidences of childhood lead poisoning in Boston neighborhoods.

The other eight grants announced today were given to the following groups:

    • The Boston Medical Center was awarded $29,920 for the “Asthma and Lead: Targeting High Risk Housing” project. This will help reduce asthma triggers, asthma attacks and lead poisoning through education and outreach to families in Boston neighborhoods.
    • The Center for Ecological Technology was awarded $30,000 for the “Healthy Beginnings” project. This will provide training to health experts and reach out to pregnant women and more than 150 families to educate them on how to reduce exposure to environmental toxins, including tobacco smoke, heavy metals, pesticides and solvents.
    • The Center for Health and Human Services was awarded $30,000 for the “Smoke-Free Homes Campaign in New Bedford and Fall River.” This will include a media campaign to raise awareness about secondhand smoke and directly reach out to families with smokers in homes with young children. Adults will be asked to pledge not to smoke. The campaign will distribute multilingual Smoke-Free Homes kits to all participating families.
    • EarthWorks was awarded $30,000 for the “EarthWorks Youth Environmental Action” project. This will enroll 25 Boston youth in a year-round after school and summer program to restore urban green space and return vacant lots and open space to productive use through horticulture and environmental education.
    • The Food Project was awarded $30,000 for “Lead-Free Boston Gardens.” This will help improve the quality of urban soil in Dorchester neighborhoods by teaching local gardeners to build and maintain safe gardens that use integrated pest management techniques and reduce risk from lead poisoning through phytoremediation and composting.
    • The Massachusetts Facilities Administrators Association was awarded $30,000 for the “Facility Manager Professional Development Program on Environmental Health and Safety.” This will create a comprehensive Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Professional Development Program to increase the capacity of facility managers to identify, prevent and address EHS issues in schools across Massachusetts.
    • The Neponset River Watershed Association was awarded $26,100 for the “Water Testing and Source Identification in the Urban Neponset River” project. This will train local volunteers to conduct a shoreline survey and collect water quality samples for bacteria on the Neponset River in Boston as well as the Pine Tree Brook and Mother Brook.
    • The Regional Environmental Council was awarded $30,000 for the “Urban Garden Resources of Worcester project. This will teach Worcester residents in low-income neighborhoods to convert vacant lots into community gardens.
In 2003, EPA New England initiated the Healthy Communities Grant Program to join resources from nine separate programs to better address environmental issues affecting public health. The grant program identifies top quality community-based projects that will achieve measurable environmental and human health improvements in communities across New England. The grants are targeted to places with high risks from toxic air pollution, serving sensitive populations or urban areas.

More information on EPA New England’s Healthy Community Grants is available at: http://www.epa.gov/ne/eco/uep/grants_2005hc.html.

Related Information:
Urban Environmental Program
2005 Healthy Communities Grant Program