Environmental Justice

Environmental Health Projects

A sample of successful projects funded through the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

Promoting Baltimore Residents’ Awareness of Lead Health Risks & Lead Abatement Services (Baltimore, MD) (2013)

Residents in Baltimore city's low-income neighborhoods are exposed to high levels of lead from lead painted housing, causing elevated levels of lead in children.  The Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning created the "Community Campaign to Inform Residents of Risks and Rights" project in 2013 to increase public awareness of the health risks of lead, knowledge of tenant rights, and available lead abatement services.  The project strategically partnered with community based organizations and the professional healthcare community in Baltimore to conduct community outreach and education events, launched a social media campaign, and held stakeholder trainings.  The project team also partnered with John Hopkins University and trained students in the school’s Center for Social Concern on lead poisoning prevention awareness. 

Project Accomplishments:

  • 15,839 Baltimore residents educated on childhood lead poisoning through 25 community outreach events and 9 stakeholder trainings
  • 2 Twitter Town Halls launched about lead poisoning prevention
  • 600 lead poisoning prevention fact sheets distributed in Northwest Baltimore City neighborhoods

Empowering Families to Create Healthy Homes & Neighborhoods (Salt Lake City, UT) (2013)

Comunidades Unidas, a community-based organization, crafted and initiated “The West Side Environmental Justice Project” in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2013 to educate residents on hazardous materials and toxic substances in homes.  By partnering with local elementary and middle schools, churches, and media outlets, Comunidades Unidas provided education on healthy homes, neighborhoods, and community spaces.  The project team held two leadership trainings, attracting more than 30 adults, high school/college students, and community health workers.  In collaboration with the project team the new community leaders provided residents with healthy home assessments, interpretation services, lead removal application assistance, and referrals to other organizations and governmental agencies.

Project Accomplishments:

  • 1,802 residents educated on environmental health
  • 55 residents provided tools to maintain a healthy home and neighborhood
  • 43 healthy home assessment conducted for at-risk families

Training Childcares to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Pesticides (Chicago, IL) (2013)

A healthy environment is vital to children's physical and mental health. Despite this, unhealthy daycares are common in many low-income areas. Midwest Pesticide Action Center, a non-profit organization, initiated the "Pesticide-Free Childcares" project in 2013 through the support of an Environmental Justice Small Grant. The goal of the project was to educate daycares on the health risks of pesticide exposure for children and infants, and increase Integrated Pest Management compliance among Chicago daycares. The project team conducted a needs assessment for several daycares, partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the University of Illinois Extension Services, conducted trainings for local daycares, and created an online training module on Integrated Pesticide Management for licensed daycares and family childcare centers. Project Accomplishments:

  • 54 daycares trained in Integrated Pest Management, increasing the overall compliance rate by 36%
  • 4,000 infants and children benefitting from reduced pesticide exposure

Providing Access to Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Information on Proper Disposal of Toxic Waste to Vietnamese Nail Salon Workers (Orange County, CA) (2012)

With the support of a 2012 Environmental Justice Small Grant, non-profit organization Boat People SOS Inc. launched the “Community Awareness Campaign on Occupational Safety” project.  The project provided nail salon employees in Orange County, California access to culturally and linguistically appropriate information on proper disposal of toxic wastes and chemicals.  The project team gave workshops to nail salon workers and business owners on methods to reduce exposure to toxic contaminants associated with salon products.  A Healthy Nail Salon coalition of health providers, regulators, community leaders, and nail salon owners and technicians was established to facilitate understanding about the health concerns facing nail salon workers and serve as a platform for members to generate solutions.

Project Accomplishments:

  • 20 nail salons provided training on methods to reduce chemical exposure
  • 180 salon technicians trained on proper disposal of toxic wastes and chemicals

Measuring the Environmental Impact of Federal Actions in Conejos, Colorado (Conejos, CO) (2012)

In 2010, the Department of Energy proposed two federal actions that would allow for the transport of radioactive, hazardous, and toxic waste through the rural county of Conejos, Colorado.  The proposed federal actions prompted Conejos County Clean Water Inc, a non-profit organization, to initiate the “Healthy and Environment Launch Project” to measure the impact federal actions have on environmental health in Conejos.  By collaborating with several partners and with the financial support of a 2012 Environmental Justice Small Grant, Conejos County Clean Water collected and tested water and soil samples.  Community forums were used to inform residents of the impacts from transporting toxic waste, an air monitoring system was established in the county, radon education booklets were distributed at local health fairs, and a database was created with baseline environmental health information.

Project Accomplishments:

  • 20 residents trained on healthy homes
  • 50 radon education booklets distributed at local health fairs
  • 8,500 residents with access to a new environmental health database

Providing Lead Education to Parents & Lead Testing to Children to Improve Children’s Health (Milwaukee, WI) (2011)

Lead exposure is a significant and largely unknown health concern for residents of Milwaukee’s low-income, minority communities.  The Social Development Commission, a community action agency, created and launched the "Targeted Lead Poisoning, Prevention and Remediation" project with the support of an Environmental Justice Small Grant in 2011. Through workshops, the Social Development Commission provided lead education to over 150 health and social workers in Milwaukee, who then educated parents in the community. The project team also conducted healthy home visits and lead screening for children.  Minimal interim controls were applied when lead hazards were detected.

Project Accomplishments:

  • Over 3,000 children screened for lead
  • 338 parents/caregivers educated on lead hazards
  • 82 healthy home assessments conducted