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2014 Champions Recognized at State House Ceremony

Contact: Karen Angelo, 978-430-6303 for photos and more information.

June 10, 2014, Boston, Mass. -- Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection David Cash, Senator Marc Pacheco and legislators recognized the 2014 Champions of Toxics Use Reduction at the Massachusetts State House. The annual awards recognize outstanding leaders who are making the Commonwealth a safer place to live and work.

"These leaders are models for others in the Commonwealth and the nation for finding innovative solutions that reduce toxic chemical use at the source," says Michael Ellenbecker, director of the Toxics Use Reduction at UMass Lowell. "They prove that protecting the environment, health and safety can promote economic growth."

The 2014 Champions of Toxics Use Reduction are:

Industry Champion

Raytheon in Andover evaluated, installed and gained management support for a new ozonated water system that cleans, sanitizes and deodorizes without toxics. The Company received a grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell to host a demonstration for other companies and organizations to see how the safer system works, learn how the Company evaluated and implemented it and talk to facilities staff that use the new system. Since the early 1970s, Raytheon Company has made significant reductions in reducing toxic chemical use. In 2010, the Company received the “TURA 20th Anniversary Leader” award for integrating toxics use reduction in all of its business operations and sharing the solutions with other companies. The new ozonated water system is one more addition to Raytheon’s long list of continuous, innovative improvements that protect health and environment while reducing costs.

Small Business Champion

KMK Cleaners in Walpole switched its dry cleaning operation from using perchloroethylene (perc) to professional wet cleaning with the help of a TURI grant. The small family-owned business demonstrated the safer technology to other dry cleaners to encourage them to eliminate the use of perc and switch to the safer method of professional wet cleaning. KMK Cleaners has been using the water-based system for more than a year with impressive financial results. The Company has reduced electricity costs by 40 percent, water use by 50 percent, resulting in a savings of $1,500 per month in operating costs. Professional wet cleaning is a proven, effective and safer replacement to perc, a ‘likely human carcinogen’ as characterized by the Environment Protection Agency.

Academic Research Champion

Professor Sammy Shina of UMass Lowell, a recognized international expert on concurrent engineering, six sigma, and green engineering, founded the New England Lead-free Electronics Consortium that has helped electronic companies find safer alternatives to lead. Under his leadership, more than 30 consortium members collaborated on research to find less toxic solutions to help them continue to sell their products globally given international regulations that prohibit ban lead in products. The companies pooled their resources and participated in a neutral and safe environment at UMass Lowell, where competitors, suppliers and customers worked together to test alternatives, all while competing in the marketplace. Sammy Shina’s expertise and leadership has been instrumental to the economic success of New England companies selling globally while protecting health and the environment. The consortium is currently proving that lead-free products can be made in industrial and high-volume settings and branching out to other environmentally friendly materials to use in new products, such as halogen-free and nano materials.

Community Champions

Barnstable County Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, “Hidden Hazards in the Art Studio” Project. The project team raised awareness with art studios and the public about art supplies that contain toxic chemicals such as solvents, lead, cadmium, chromium, heavy metals and hydrochloric acid. The team shared information about safer alternatives with municipal and state organizations responsible for the oversight of hazardous materials. The project team also created a video and a public service announcement about the dangers of toxins in art materials.

Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Greenfield, “Green Cleaning for Food Service” Project. The project team helped reduce toxics used in the food service by sharing information on certified green cleaning products and practices with public health inspectors of commercial and institutional kitchens. The project team surveyed the cleaning and disinfection products and practices used in food service operations and restaurant kitchens in Franklin, Hampshire and Berkshire counties in Western Massachusetts. They also developed and distributed a guide to green cleaning and trained food service operators on green cleaning training methods.

Full Circle Earth, Woburn, “Healthy Communities Initiative: Pesticide Use Reduction through Promotion and Practice of Organic Land Care Principles. The project team educated more then 100 community members on organic land care methods. Through workshops and community events in Beverly, Wakefield and Woburn, the team helped citizens achieve healthy lawns and landscapes without the use of pesticides or harmful fertilizers. The workshops explained how to rejuvenate the soil through microbes that strengthen plants to resist pests. They also demonstrated compost tea brewing, gave away easy-to-use kits and showed documentaries on the harmful effects of pesticides.

Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition, “Cancer-Free New Economy Jamaica Plain: Integrating Toxics Reduction Approaches with Sustainable Community Development.” The Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition, a community-based effort, supports the transition to a sustainable and equitable economy. The project team brought together businesses and communities to find ways to reduce toxic exposures for a cancer-free and prosperous neighborhood and economy. The project team held workshops on strategies to eliminate carcinogens and identified 20 businesses that were interested in transitioning away from carcinogens and using safer alternatives.

La Chic Mentoring Plus, Inc., Beverly, “Healthy Girls Model Healthy Products.” The project team developed a curriculum for middle and high school girls about safer beauty products. They presented the materials during the “Healthy Girls Model Healthy Products” after school program sessions and at a fashion show at the Boys and Girls Club of Lynn. The team leaders, who mentor at-risk girls, presented materials and provided safer beauty products for the teens to try. La Chic also presented the project at the American Chemical Society conference.

Photos 2014