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Massachusetts: Boston Public Health Commission (A Former EPA CARE Project)

The summary and links below provide a description and documentation of a Boston, Massachusetts project that received a cooperative agreement from EPA’s former Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) Program in 2006. These case studies serve as historic references, and conditions since the project was funded may have changed.

The resources developed for this project provide communities with information about ways that other communities have addressed environmental issues. Communities can use these project results to reduce environmental impacts, understand risks and become stewards of their own environment.


Boston Public Health Commission 
Boston, Massachusetts
EPA Region 1

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is the recipient of a Level II CARE Cooperative Agreement. BPHC has over 30 years experience working with under served communities to identify problems and develop and implement solutions to achieve results. The auto shop industry in Boston presents a challenging environment and public health problem to urban residents, as more than 700 legal and illegal auto shops are clustered in diverse, low-income neighborhoods, and are a source of multimedia hazards to air, groundwater and soil. A diverse coalition of partners representing government, public health organizations, academia, businesses, residents and nonprofit groups conducted a needs assessment and inventory of risks facing the target community including an assessment of 145 auto body shops to identify environmental and public health hazards to workers and local residents. 

The goal of this two year, Level II risk-reduction project, is to measurably reduce the negative environmental and public health impacts by auto shops on workers and residents by reducing emissions of hazards materials and improving work practices through 150 automobile shop assessments, 600 worker surveys, 40 in-shop trainings reaching over 400 workers and owners on pollution prevention, and worker protection, 16 community health screening events, 18 train-the-trainer sessions on environment and public health risks, and four major community outreach events to raise public awareness for thousands of residents. Measurable results include a 30 percent increase in the number of employees reporting proper use of best work practices, at least 25 auto body shops adopting two or more preferable work or supply purchasing practices that reduce pollution emissions and worker exposures, two fuel-efficient (hybrid or alternative fuel) vehicles approved for use as taxicabs, at least one new City ordinance to enforce tougher pollution prevention standards for auto shops, and creation of a Boston auto shop business association for sharing lessons learned and assistance for future improvements.

CARE Partners:  Boston Inspectional Services; Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health; Bowdoin Street Community Health Center; Joseph Smith Community Health Center; Allston/Brighton Healthy Boston Coalition; Codman Square Health Center, and; the Nuestra Communidad Development Center.

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