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EPA Healthy Community Grants Will Help Protect Health in N.H.

Many Grants Address Children's Health Concerns including Asthma and Exposure to Lead

10/31/2018
Contact Information: 
John Senn (senn.john@epa.gov)
(617) 918-1019

BOSTON – Two organizations in New Hampshire were awarded a total of $49,967 by the US Environmental Protection Agency to fund community projects addressing environmental and public health issues. The projects will reduce environmental risks, protect and improve human health, and improve the quality of life for communities and residents of the state.

These organizations were among the 16 across New England recently awarded a total of $387,861 through the 2018 Healthy Communities Grant Program.

The grants were given to:

  • Keene State College ($25,000) for its "Keene Woodsmoke Community Awareness" project.
  • Nashua Regional Planning Commission ($24,967) for its "Toxic Free is easy as 1-2-3" project.

"EPA is very pleased to be working with local community groups to address specific environmental concerns that are important to people in New England," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn. "Both of these projects being funded will help address concerns for children's health, such as reducing asthma triggers and taking steps to ensure children are not exposed to toxic chemicals."

In the "Keene Woodsmoke Community Awareness" project, Keene State College will work with the Southwest Region Planning Commission to hold workshops to increase community awareness of the risks of: fine particulate matter, EPA's Burnwise principles, the Facebook group Keene Clean Air and the city's voluntary compliance program. The project will expand the Keene State College's monitoring network of particulate matter. It will also help college faculty and students engage citizens by creating a fine particulate matter map specific to Keene and it will develop better predictors to aid in decision-making. The project will combine these elements into the existing Keene Clean Air platform with the goal of a self-regulating voluntary compliance system. Air purifiers will be tested for their effectiveness as interventions. All the information gathered will help develop an interactive citizen science platform to engage residents and students and create a self-regulating system to reduce air pollution during air inversions, when fine particulate matter is most problematic. Project partners include: Southwest Region Planning Commission.

The Nashua Regional Planning Commission's toxics project will educate parents and caregivers about the risk that household hazardous products pose to children and ways to reduce the chances of exposures and poisonings. The project will provide education, outreach, training and assistance in English and Spanish on approaches to reducing toxics in indoors. In addition, the project will teach consumers about safer alternatives, and support safe disposal of household hazardous waste. The campaign will be designed with local, community input and be used throughout the target geographic area - Amherst, Brookline, Hollis, Hudson, Litchfield, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Nashua, Pelham, and Windham - through a range of techniques including trainings, posters, flyers, and other approaches. Project partners include: City of Nashua Public Health & Community Services Department, Healthy Homes Program.

Background

EPA New England's Healthy Communities Grant Program combines resources from several EPA programs to strategically address the environmental and public health issues burdening New England communities. Contributing programs include Air Quality Outreach, Assistance & Pollution Prevention, Asthma and Indoor Air, Children's Environmental Health, Clean, Green and Healthy Schools Initiative, Toxics and Pesticides, Urban Environmental Program, and Water Infrastructure (Stormwater, Wastewater, and Drinking Water). The program has competitively selected projects that will: assess, understand, and reduce environmental and human health risks; increase collaboration through community-based projects; build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environmental and human health problems; advance emergency preparedness and resilience; and achieve measurable environmental and human health benefits in communities across New England.

The projects that have been awarded funding must meet several criteria including: (1) location in /or directly benefit one or more of the EPA's identified Target Investment Areas; and (2) identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the EPA's identified Target Program Areas. In 2018, the Target Investment Areas included: Areas Needing to Create Community Resilience; Environmental Justice Areas of Potential Concern; and Sensitive Populations. Target Program Areas included: Clean, Green and Healthy Schools; Community and Water Infrastructure Resilience; Healthy Indoor Environments; and Healthy Outdoor Environments.

For more information about the Healthy Communities Grant Program and/or additional details about the projects, please visit https://www3.epa.gov/region1/eco/uep/hcgp.html.