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UMass Lowell's Toxics Use Reduction Institute Honors Leaders at State House Recognition Ceremony

June 14, 2006, Boston, Mass. - Nine Massachusetts community groups, companies and individuals will be honored on Thursday, June 15, 2006 at the Massachusetts State House as the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) presents the 2006 Champions of Toxics Use Reduction Awards.

The annual Awards honor leaders who have used innovative and collaborative approaches to reduce toxic chemical use throughout Massachusetts. 

“I want to thank these leaders for tackling tough issues and persevering for the safety of all of us who live and work in Massachusetts,” said Director of TURI Dr. Michael Ellenbecker.  “As each of these honorees proves, we can find new ways to protect our environment, our health and our economy,” continued Ellenbecker.

Three community projects funded through the TURI Community Grant Program focused on reducing pesticide use and finding safer cleaning products and techniques.  The Town of Westford Water Department raised awareness about the effect of pesticide use on water supplies and safer ways to care for lawns.  The Center for Healthy Homes and Neighborhoods at Boston University educated residents in Boston, Cambridge and Waltham housing authorities about how to repel pests in a safe way.  The Regional Environmental Council in Worcester educated janitors about the effects of toxic chemicals found in conventional cleaning products and safer alternatives.           

Two Toxics Use Reduction Planners are honored for exemplary service.  William Judd, Project Manager at Irwin Engineers, Inc. in Natick, has made significant contributions to the TURA Program, from helping more than 25 companies prepare and implement their reduction plans to providing input to legislators about the recent bill to amend TURA. Tim Woycik, Principal Environmental Auditor at National Grid in Westboro has shared his expertise in financial management by developing and teaching workshops that help Massachusetts companies demonstrate the financial benefits of toxics use reduction.

David Williams, Chair of the TURA Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Lawrence Boise, Vice Chair of the TURA SAB are recognized for lending scientific expertise on a volunteer basis to the TURA Program for more than a decade.

Vicor Corporation in Andover found safer alternatives to lead and hexavalent chromium used in manufacturing and shared their competitive strategies with over 50 Massachusetts companies through the TURI Demo Site Program.  Ceramics Processing Systems in Norton replaced a triple acid bath used for cleaning parts with a safer and more economical solution found by the TURI Laboratory.

The Proof is in the Data

Massachusetts companies continued to voluntarily reduce chemical use in 2004 while maintaining their competitive edge.  Among industries and chemicals subject to reporting since 1990 (and adjusted for changes in production), chemical use has been reduced by 41%, byproducts by 65%, and releases on site by 91%.  Dr. Ellenbecker attributes this 14-year success to the joint efforts of the Massachusetts companies, their Toxics Use Reduction Planners, TURI and its sister agencies, the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance for Toxics Use Reduction and the Department of Environmental Protection.  To learn more, visit the Institute’s web site at www.TURAdata.turi.org.

About the Toxics Use Reduction Institute and the University of Massachusetts Lowell 

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell provides the resources and tools to help Massachusetts companies and communities make the Commonwealth a safer place to live and work.  Established by the State’s Toxics Use Reduction Act of 1989, TURI provides research, training, technical support, laboratory services and grant programs to reduce the use of toxic chemicals while enhancing the economic competitiveness of businesses.  Visit www.turi.org.