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TURI Awards $30,000 in Community Grants to Focus on Use of Disinfectants, Pesticides, and Household Cleaners

UMass Lowell’s TURI Awards $30,000 in Community Grants

Projects will raise awareness of the hazards of pesticides on lawns, toxics in cleaning, and school disinfection practices

LOWELL—The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell has awarded $30,000 in grant funding to three Massachusetts community organizations. The projects will raise awareness about the hazards of toxic chemicals and encourage the selection of safer alternatives or methods. TURI’s state budget was eliminated in June but was recently restored thanks to an infusion of $1.3 million in federal economic stimulus funds. The state’s Executive Office of Education designated the one-time federal stimulus-backed Education Stabilization funds to cover TURI staff and programs until June 30, 2010. “Even though the TURI Community Program is operating with a significantly reduced budget, we selected three organizations and projects that we believe will make the greatest impact,” commented TURI Community Program Manager Joy Onasch. “Proper use of disinfectants in schools, making safer household cleaners, and reducing the use of harmful pesticides on lawns are all areas where people can make an impact. They just need the information to make informed decisions for the health of their families and communities.” TURI awarded grants to the following three organizations:

§ Wampanoag Tribe, Martha’s Vineyard, $10,000 grant. Through their project “Wampanoag Greening Cleaning,” the Wampanoag Tribe will strive to replace conventional cleaning products in Tribal homes across the Vineyard. The project will include outreach through printed materials about the health hazards of conventional products and feasible alternatives that are safer and less expensive. The project team will also provide sample cleaners for professional house cleaning services and for the Tribal Administration. Materials created from previously funded TURI projects will be used to help execute this work.

§ School Disinfection Workgroup, State-wide project, $10,000 grant. The Workgroup will continue their work from 2009 and generate information about disinfection, sanitization, and hand hygiene options to reduce the use of unnecessary disinfectants in schools. This year, training materials will be developed to be presented to school nurses, facility managers, and teachers and will be piloted through training programs run by the Environmental Protection Agency Tools for Schools program.

§ Municipal Organic Lawn Demonstration Project, Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA), Barre, $10,000 grant. The towns of Ayer and Stoneham will establish organic lawn care demonstration sites within their communities with the guidance of a local NOFA Accredited Organic Lawn Care Professional. The project will reduce the use of harmful pesticides in those communities and create a visible learning site to encourage people within the community to use organic lawn care methods.

For more information about the TURI Community Grant Program, visit TURI’s community web site or contact Joy Onasch, Joy@turi.org, 978-934-4343. For more information about the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, visit www.turi.org.