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Monday, 17 June 2019 17:49

Environmental Champions Honored by Toxics Use Reduction Institute


State legislators joined the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program on June 13 to recognize 2018 Champions of Toxics Use Reduction at the Massachusetts State House.

The annual event recognizes outstanding leaders who are making the Commonwealth a safer place to live and work.


Honorees include community organizations and companies that received grants from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell. Companies reduced TCE and lead use in manufacturing, perc in dry cleaning and flame retardants in foam products used in gymnastics facilities.


The community groups worked to reduce BPA and BPS in store receipts, toxics in artificial turf playing fields and solvents in auto shops and in public schools.


"These leaders prove that improving environmental performance protects the public as well as the bottom line," said Michael Ellenbecker, co-director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell, who welcomed legislators, honorees and their guests at the event in the Great Hall at the State House. "The hard work that these companies, municipalities and communities do to protect public health and the environment is inspiring."


Speakers at the event included state Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture; Daniel Sieger, undersecretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; and Prof. Joel Tickner of the Department of Public Health at UMass Lowell.


Community Champions of Toxics Use Reduction Include:


Don't Take That Receipt! of Haydenville, MA, a public health and environmental justice group of youths and adults, communicated the dangers of Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS) in store receipts. BPA and BPS mimic estrogen and may, therefore, disrupt development in fetuses, babies and children.


The Lawrence Fire Department visited more than 100 auto body and repair shops in the city to encourage owners to use safer products. Toxic chemicals such as lead, toluene and other solvents are found in brake cleaners, degreasers, wheel weights and spray gun washers.


The Field Fund, Inc. of Martha's Vineyard shared their experience of using an organic, regenerative approach to grass playing fields with other communities looking to improve the quality of their playing fields in a responsible way and avoid the installation of artificial turf.

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