Urban Environmental Program in New England
Grants and Projects: Toxics
Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust
"Bridgeport East Side Healthy Homes Initiative"
Partners: Bridgeport Lead Free Families Program; Fairfield University School of Nursing Health Promotion Center (HPC); Optimus Healthcare Center; Fairfield County Environmental Justice Network; Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition; United Illuminating Company – Department of Energy Program
Summary: Bridgeport's East Side suffers from a large proportion of aging, abandoned, and dilapidated housing resulting in residents' heightened exposure to environmental hazards such as mold, lead, roaches, dust mites, radon, and carbon monoxide. Incorporated in 1986, Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust's mission is to strengthen neighborhoods by embracing a comprehensive revitalization approach through advocacy, education, investment, and technical support. This project seeks to conduct a targeted neighborhood approach to addressing environmentally related illnesses including: inhalant allergens that contribute to asthma triggers; and lead contamination that poisons young children. Project activities include disseminating education materials to the community, providing Healthy Homes workshops, conducting train-the-trainer workshops, and conducting Healthy Homes interventions.
Measurable Results: Number of materials disseminated; Number of workshops; Number of participants; Number of Healthy Home interventions
Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice
Get Hartford Recycling
Founded in 1998, The Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice (CCEJ) is a nonprofit organization working to promote the fair and meaningful involvement of Connecticut’s urban residents in public policy on environmental issues by educating the community and promoting individual, corporate and government responsibility toward Connecticut’s urban environments. “Get Hartford Recycling” will initiate a Speakers Bureau to educate Hartford residents on the importance of recycling and how to safely dispose of hazardous waste as a way to improve city health. CCEJ will also work with the city through a new Hartford Recycling Task Force to develop plans to make recycling easily accessible to more residents and local businesses. Through these efforts, the “Get Hartford Recycling” project will help increase the amount of materials recycled within the city and reduce the total waste and hazardous waste being burned in local incinerators. The project promotes CCEJ’s goal of reducing toxic incinerator emissions responsible for various public health effects within Hartford, including elevated rates of asthma, cancer, and diabetes.
Measurable Results: Number of residents trained to be a part of a Recycling Speakers Bureau, Number of community members attending the Speakers Bureau, Increase in Hartford’s household recycled material, Increase in the appropriate disposal of hazardous waste by Hartford households
Partners: The city of Hartford, the City’s Advisory Committee on the Environment (ACOTE), and the Metropolitan District (MDC)
Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries (Waterbury)
"Brass City Harvest"
Brass City Harvest is a multi-faceted program of sustainable urban agriculture in Waterbury's most blighted and economically depressed neighborhoods. Soil in the gardening lots have been identified as containing toxins such as lead, arsenic, chromium from the previous structures once located on the property, many of which were used for heavy industrial purposes. Additionally, the inner city agricultural producers and backyard gardeners lack practical knowledge and technical expertise as to the dangers that lurk in the soil and the methods to mitigate these soil dangers. The Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries will work to provide public education and outreach, soil testing, and the soil mitigation/encapsulation methods needed to restore the land and utilize current green space in an environmentally responsible and healthy manner. By providing this education, the quality of produce crown across the city will improve and the soil analysis results will give the local Health Department its first database of soil analysis in order to track toxic trends across Waterbury.
Measurable Results: Expected results for the project include: Soil testing/analysis in a minimum of 30 gardening lots; Multilingual education to at least 500 Waterbury residents; Creation of a soil analysis database for the city.
Partners: City of Waterbury/Waterbury Department of Public Health, Connecticut Agricultural Station, and the Connecticut Community Gardening Association
Consolidated School District – New Britain (New Britain)
"Improving Lead Education Materials, A Multilingual Approach"
While great strides have been made in reducing the incidents of childhood lead poisoning in the State of Connecticut, there remain continuing challenges to its elimination as a public health concern. The Consolidated School District – New Britain will take the existing printed lead poisoning awareness and prevention information from the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health and have the literacy level reduced to 4th grade and then subsequently have the materials translated into Spanish, Polish, and Arabic to better service the target audience. School nurses, parent volunteer organizers, and high school students will be trained using these new materials and they will, in turn, work with elementary schools students, preschool students, parents, and the community.
Measurable Results: Expected results for the project include: Increased lead screening rate from 43% to 60%; Development of low-literacy lead education materials; Translation of education materials in Arabic, Spanish, and Polish; a minimum of 3 Parent Volunteer Organizers, 3 high school students, and 5 school nurses trained in lead poisoning signs/symptoms, awareness, screening, follow-up services, and city-based lead remediation programs.
Partners: City of New Britain Department of Public Health
City of Bridgeport, Health Department Lead Prevention Program (Bridgeport, CT)
Neighborhood Environmental Action Team
The City of Bridgeport’s Health Department will expand its lead poisoning prevention program by hiring an environmental health consultant to train four high school students to develop and teach a curriculum for forty 4th and 5th grade students. The high school students will be selected through an essay-writing contest at Harding High School and will receive forty hours of training on ways to identify environmental toxins, effects on public health, and how to create healthy indoor and outdoor environments to reduce exposure to toxic substances. Both the high school students and the younger children they teach will create tools including informational posters to help reach and education local residents in target areas. The environmental health consultant will also host two workshops to educate high school students on lead and mercury poisoning issues. Informational packets will be sent home to the parents of participating students, and referral forms will direct parents to resources available from partnering programs.
Measurable Results: 400 hour-long curriculum developed by four trained high school students taught to 40 elementary school students; 50 high school students receive workshop education on lead and mercury issues; increase in number of children under 6 years old tested for blood lead levels; increase in number of lead-safe housing units; increase in family awareness of lead and mercury poisoning and risk reduction.
Connecticut Department of Public Health (Hartford, CT)
Sustaining EPA’s Tools for Schools - Connecticut School Indoor Environmental Resource Team
The project will provide Tools for Schools (TFS) trainings for Connecticut schools in small to moderate-sized cities, with a focus on reaching schools in the large cities of Stamford, Hartford, New Haven, and the Connecticut Technical High School system. Other initiatives include creating and providing new training workshops for custodians in several districts, holding refresher courses for schools which have been in the program the longest, providing additional radon testing training for member schools, supporting TFS team fall kick-off meetings at member schools, and completing and maintaining the Connecticut Tools for Schools website for students, staff, families, and administrators.
Measurable Results: TFS presentations held at 10 district administrative councils; 138 schools receive two-part training session for TFS teams, including shop-specific checklists for vocational schools; five schools receive refresher course for TFS teams; three schools receive TFS workshops for custodians; measurable evaluation data from all training participants and member schools.
Partners: Connecticut Indoor Environment Resource Team. Members include: Connecticut Departments of Public Health, Education, and Environmental Protection; Connecticut Education Association; American Lung Association of Connecticut; University of Connecticut —School of Medicine; Yale University; Connecticut Department of Labor Occupational Safety program; Connecticut Parent Teacher Association; Connecticut Foundation for Environmentally Safe Schools)