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2010 Champions and TURA 20th Anniversary Leaders Recognized

State legislators joined the UMass Lowell’s Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) in June to recognize Massachusetts companies and community organizations for their outstanding environmental accomplishments.

At the State House event, Michael Ellenbecker, professor of Work Environment at UMass Lowell and director of TURI, praised the honorees for finding innovative ways to reduce toxic chemical use and educating the public on how to make safer choices. He was joined by speakers and state officials Ian Bowles, secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Sen. Anthony Petruccelli and Rep. William Straus, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. The trio addressed 19 companies and three community organizations that have made the Commonwealth a safer place to live and work.

Three community groups were recognized as “Community Champions of Toxics Use Reduction” for educating the public about safer ways to clean, disinfect and care for lawns. They include:

  •  Wampanoag Tribe in Martha’s Vineyard for the “Wampanoag Green Cleaning Project,” project manager Jim Miller;
  •  “School Disinfectant Workgroup,” a state-wide project managed by Lynn Rose of Deerfield;
  •  Northeast Organic Farming Association in Barre (with lawn projects in Ayer and Stoneham), “Municipal Organic Lawn Demonstration Project,” project manager Kathy Litchfield.

Alpha Chemical Services and Best Neighborhood Cleaners were recognized as this year’s industry “Champions of Toxics Use Reduction” for promoting safer janitorial and dry cleaning alternatives.

Also honored were 17 companies that received the “TURA 20th Anniversary Leaders” award for making substantial environmental improvements since the enactment of the Toxics Use Reduction Act in 1989. They are:

“The data that we collect as part of the program show that the TURA 20th Anniversary Leaders thrived between 1990 and 2008 – they reported an increase in production of seven-fold – while reducing their use of toxic chemicals by an incredible 3 million pounds,” said Ellenbecker. “If the TURA law didn’t exist and the companies had continued using the chemicals at the same rate as during their first year of production, we would have expected them in 2008 to be using over 40 million pounds of chemicals.”