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EPA Environmental Justice Grant Will Help Train Syracuse Area Residents About How to Reduce Asthma Attacks and Protect Against Lead Poisoning

Release Date: 12/28/2012
Contact Information: John Martin 212 637-3662;

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded nearly $25,000 to the Onondaga Environmental Institute to train and certify central New York area residents to perform environmental jobs. Under the grant, the institute will also hold four community meetings to educate people about environmental hazards in the home, with an emphasis on lead and pollutants that trigger asthma attacks. Childhood lead poisoning is particularly a problem in low income neighborhoods in Syracuse.

      Lead is a toxic metal that is especially dangerous to children because their growing bodies can absorb more of it than adults. Even at low levels of exposure, lead can result in I.Q. deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, reduced attention spans, hyperactivity and other behavioral problems.

      “EPA environmental justice grants provide much needed funds to tackle local pollution problems in low income communities," said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. "Lead poisoning remains one of the most prevalent threats to children's health but it is also one of the most preventable. Increasing public awareness about lead paint and asthma triggers will protect health, particularly children’s health.”

      It is estimated that three-quarters of U.S. residential dwellings built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint and 93 percent of housing in Syracuse is pre-1978. Using the EPA grant, the Onondaga Environmental Institute will work to reduce local lead poisoning levels and asthma hospitalization incidents by raising awareness and training residents on lead and asthma prevention practices.

      The Onondaga Environmental Institute will also work with the L&M Training Center and State University of New York Education Opportunity Center to train and certify local residents in the skills needed for environmental jobs. The classes will instruct participants on occupational safety and health in construction work, EPA requirements on renovations, repairs and painting activities that disturb lead paint and the New York State Department of Health’s asbestos work safety requirements. After the free four-week training, certified workers will be connected with a local network that employs qualified workers.

      Since 1994, EPA’s environmental justice small grants program has supported projects to address environmental justice issues in more than 1,300 communities. The grants represent EPA’s continued commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.

      2012 EJ Small Grant recipients and project descriptions:

      More information about EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grants program:

      Request for Proposals (RFP) for the FY 2013 Environmental Justice Small Grants and schedule of pre-application teleconference calls: