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Healthy Children in a Healthy Valley: reducing Exposure to Air Toxics in Homes and Outdoors

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The Toxic Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in partnership with Family Service, Inc. (environmental health advocacy and educators) and Merrimac Valley Environmental Coalition (local environmental groups), will work to reduce children's risk from indoor air toxics and build area capacity by connecting two groups working on complimentary initiatives. The will be accomplished by:

1. Parental Outreach
The project team will develop and eight-hour workshop series that will be attended by a total of 60 community outreach workers and direct service providers. The workshop will focus on pediatric exposure to air toxics in the home environment, pediatric health issues related to air toxins, and strategies for communicating this information to parents encountered in their regular work. These people will then conduct outreach and education with 600 parents (10 each) during their regular contact opportunities. The project team will also conduct two 2-hour debriefing and information sharing workshops for the community outreach workers and direct service providers.

Information on indoor air toxins and pediatric health issues will also be distributed by the project team to the general public via community meetings, press placement, and written literature.

2. Capacity Building through Collaboration
The two community team members have both been working on air toxics issues in Merrimack Valley, but on different aspects and with different populations. Connecting and cross-training these complimentary groups will increase the skills, knowledge, and population reach of both groups. Further, as the parental outreach program will be working with direct service providers, it will establish a pool of outreach personnel who can reach large numbers of parents as well as a network that they can consult for advice.

As part of the collaboration, MVEC leaders will launch a coordinated information campaign about ways to reduce indoor and outdoor air toxics exposure. This campaign is anticipated to consist of public workshops, press placement, and retailer outreach.

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