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News Releases from Region 06

U.S. EPA Awards More Than $90,000 to Protect Children’s Health along the U.S.-Mexico Border

Funds will be used towards projects in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties in TX

02/12/2018
Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard (R6Press@epa.gov)
214 665-2200

DALLAS (Feb. 12, 2018) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded more than $90,000 to two Texas universities for projects aiming to protect children in US-Mexico border communities from environmental hazards. Texas A&M University School of Public Health received $45,000, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center received $46,169.

The projects will focus on training childcare providers, parents, caretakers, and others on protecting children from environmental exposures in home, child care, and other settings. The projects also benefit overburdened communities by working to advance capacity in communities to reduce environmental health disparities for minority and low-income populations. Children are often more vulnerable to pollutants than adults, due to differences in behavior and biology that might lead to greater exposure and susceptibility.


“Ensuring children live, learn and play in healthy environments is an investment in our nation’s future,” said EPA’s Region 6 Administrator Anne Idsal. “These grant recipients know how to make the most of this funding and bring tangible benefits to border communities.”

“Chronic diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes are linked to air pollution. We will provide education on a variety of environmental hazards to promotoras, parents at elementary and middle schools, and pregnant women,” said Genny Carillo, MD, of Texas A&M University School of Public Health. “The education will provide participants the knowledge needed to identify indoor and outdoor pollutants, harmful chemicals in pesticides used at home, and how they can change or control them without exposing their children to the damaging effects.”

“The Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health is very pleased to hear that we have been awarded this grant. It will serve to augment outreach to disadvantaged children on the border from El Paso to Brownsville,” said Director Stephen Borron, MD. “Based at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, we have partnered with colleagues from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine to extend our reach. The funds will go to production of training guides for promotoras, as well as two promotora workshops. It will likewise support the development of e-learning modules to be used in their new senior medical student elective on pediatric environmental health.”

Project descriptions:

Texas A&M University School of Public Health - $45,000

The project will provide outreach on creating healthy indoor environments to many segments of the South Texas population through the highly successful Program on Asthma Research and Education (PARE). Seminars for pregnant women, parents of school children, and educators will focus on creating healthy environments through integrated pest management, indoor air quality, lead education, and reducing environmental exposures. Community health workers will also be trained through the colonias program. The project will be done in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - $46,169

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC EP) and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine (UTRGV) will improve community health by providing pediatric environmental health electives to medical and nursing students. Students will in turn train community health workers called promotoras, who will then be able to educate their own communities. In far West Texas, the project will include El Paso County, with a focus on the city of El Paso, the Tigua Tribal Nation, and several unincorporated settlements known as colonias. In the Rio Grande Valley, the project will include Cameron County, with focus on the cities of Harlingen and Brownsville and surrounding towns and Hidalgo County, with focus on the city of Edinburg and surrounding towns as well as colonias.

For more information on the EPA’s U.S. – Mexico Border 2020 Program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/border2020

For more information on EPA’s efforts to protect children from environmental hazards, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/children

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