Boston Community Project Benefits from Federal Partnership / Partnership will ease access to resources regarding environmental and human health
– The Boston Public Health Commission received a targeted EPA grant of nearly $220,000 to address environmental and health issues in auto parts shops.
Boston is one of four pilot communities throughout the country showcased in a new partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Today, EPA and CDC formalized an effort to ensure that the resources and expertise of both agencies can more efficiently help local communities advance their environmental and public health protection efforts.
“This partnership will make it easier for communities throughout New England to access financial and technical resources to tackle their unique environmental and public health problems,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “By working together, we hope to accelerate the pace of targeting local environmental problems and applying ground–based, innovative solutions.”
“This pilot is a creative way for the Federal government to make a meaningful contribution to the well-being of people in Boston’s neighborhoods,” remarked Brian Golden, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
EPA and CDC funding and expertise is assisting a pilot project by the Boston Public Health Commission on their “CARE Safe Shops” project, designed to reduce air emissions from the estimated 600-plus auto shops clustered in low-income neighborhoods. EPA funds the testing of pollution prevention alternatives to replace more toxic materials, as well as providing health and environmental education for shop workers. CDC funds a variety of health related projects including a mobile health van that provides health screenings and education to targeted auto body and repair shops.
“I am thrilled that Boston has been chosen to participate in this pilot project with the EPA and the CDC; it shows our city’s commitment to addressing health and environmental issues,” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said. “With partnerships like this, we can make Boston a healthier place to live.”
The combined EPA and CDC funding will also provide training and technical assistance for health department housing authority officials on methods for reducing environmental health hazards in housing. Also, this project will ensure Implementation of “integrated pest management” pilot programs in public and senior housing to further reduce potential exposure to chemicals.
Independently, both EPA and CDC have long provided support and project assistance to local governments and organizations faced with complex and localized health and environmental concerns, such as Brownfields projects, lead in homes and pollution-induced asthma.
Besides Boston, the other three communities receiving funding for pilot projects are Cerro Gordo, Iowa; Cherokee Nation, Okla.; and Savannah, Ga. Each of these four communities are already a part of EPA’s Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program, a $4 million competitive grant and technical assistance program that encourages community-based education and public health protection projects across the country.
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