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Lawrence Fire Department: Toxics Use Reduction with Auto Body and Repair Shops

Project Details

Year: 2019
Location: Lawrence
Project Manager: Captain Patrick Delaney

Lawrence fire fighters at state house

The Lawrence Fire Department was recognized at the Massachusetts State House as a Champion of Toxics Use Reduction for their work to reduce toxics among owners and employees of auto body and repair shops.

The Lawrence Fire Department's Fire Prevention Bureau visited over 100 auto body and repair shops in the city to conduct a safety assessment and educate the shop about toxics use reduction. They provided information about safe practices and compliance written in Spanish and English. An inspection checklist allowed the Department to prioritize shops that needed followup visits.

The Fire Prevention Bureau analyzed the data collected during the assessment. Analysis showed that one particular solvent was used to clean paint spray guns in a majority of auto body shops. This solvent contains high levels of methanol, toluene, and acetone. Using information from a TURI case study for Mike's Autobody in Fall River, the Department contacted Bonny Marlin, a paint gun cleaning system built with a self-contained station for cleaning and recycling that uses a safer cleaning alternative and reduces hazardous waste. The Lawrence Fire Department installed the system at a local supply shop used by many of the auto body shop owners to use for demonstrations.  Follow-up visits to the auto body shops showed that many had switched to safer products and processes.

In addition to personal visits, the Department appeared on a local radio show to talk about the toxics use reduction project. With the help of the TURA program's Office of Technical Assistance, they held a well-attended training session using the Massachusetts Clean Auto Repair (MassCAR) curriculum.

Overall, the Lawrence Fire Department is satisfied with the outcomes of this project. Many of the shops use safer products and have adopted safer practices. In addition the Department has stronger relationships with the auto shops than before and expects that safety improvements will increase and endure.

This page updated Monday May 17 2021