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Household Products Project

Project Details

Year: 2002
Location: Lawrence and Andover
Project Manager: Liz Sweeney, Director of Programs
Partners: JSI Center for Environmental Health, The Child Care Circuit, Inc., The Mother Connection, Inc.(Andover) Background
  • Lawrence has an increase of asthma, cancer, birth defects, mental health in children
  • 5 to 10 million household poisonings are reported each year (most of the victims are children)
  • 884 chemicals used in personal care products and cosmetics are known to be toxic. It is estimated that women absorb up to two kilos of chemicals through toiletries and cosmetics each year

Project Overview

Family Service, Inc. began a collaborative community awareness project entitled .Healthy Kids. that targeted parents of young children in Greater Lawrence and Andover to educate them on the issue of reducing their children.s exposure to toxics in the home. The project was implemented by a community social worker and a psychologist who attended existing parent groups to talk about 1) the effects of toxics on their children.s development, 2) where toxics are in their homes, and 3) ways to reduce toxics use.
Family Service staff attended existing meetings of parent support groups, prenatal classes, and playgroups to speak about toxics and distribute packets of information and resources. Information was given in both English and Spanish and sessions were designed to be interactive and to motivate parents to change behaviors that may potentially expose their children to toxins.

Project Accomplishments

All of the people involved in this program were extremely pleased with the outcomes and its success. This program has been extremely well received by the parent groups. Family Service had more requests than they we are able to fill in the time allotted in the grant.

This program was an extremely successful program for a variety of reasons.

  1. Family Service reached 115 parents of young children who are now more aware of how toxins affect child development and things they can do to reduce their child.s exposure.
  2. The Family Service staff is more educated and aware of toxins, their effect on young children and how to reduce toxins. Through other Family Service programs, the staff reach thousands of individuals a year, and will share this information and educate a much wider audience.
  3. Family Service is committed to continuing this work through additional grant funding.
Lessons Learned

Family Service learned early on that parents had there own ideas about what was important to them, and began slightly shifting the focus to be more responsive to the parents interests. For example, parents wanted more information on products that they could use instead of their normal products. This was not included in the original agenda of the trainings.
Secondly, there was less focus on materials development and more focus on reaching people in the community. Since the program used pre-existing materials, there was not a need to develop our own materials, except for the Spanish translation. Therefore, the time was spent working with JSI, Inc. to review materials and practice the topics for discussion.

Beyond TURN

Family Service is committed to continuing this type of programming and will write for grant funds to continue this project. Family Service wishes to share our knowledge and expertise in working with people and doing outreach to support TURI.s efforts in the community.

This page updated Monday October 03 2011