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Grant Will Help Reduce Environmental Risks in Lower Income Boston Neighborhoods

Release Date: 09/27/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Sept. 27, 2006) – An EPA grant for more than $200,000 will help the Boston Public Health Commission address environmental health issues in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods by reducing toxic emissions at an estimated 700 auto shops clustered in low-income Boston neighborhoods.

The grant was made under EPA’s “Community Action for a Renewed Environment” (CARE) program, which helps communities understand and reduce toxic risks. The CARE program promotes community consensus on multiple sources of risks and encourages program partners to go beyond the regulatory approach and work collaboratively with the business community to invest in environmental improvements.

Under the CARE program, EPA selected the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) to receive $219,544 in support of Boston’s “Safe Shop” project. Thanks to EPA’s funding, this project will continue its work for two years, working with state and local partner organizations to reduce emissions from the estimated 700 legal and illegal auto shops clustered in specific low income neighborhoods in Boston.

EPA’s CARE grant will provide on-the-ground resources to expand work with auto shops, promote a systematic use of best practices and adopt a systems change through supporting development of a business association. BPHC will reduce air pollution-related health risks to employees and neighbors in communities where these shops are located, while maintaining the economic value these businesses bring to the community.

The goal of this project is to develop a broad-based technique that can be applied to reduce environmental health impacts of other small businesses in our communities. Specific actions anticipated under the SAFE Shop program include performing environmental assessments of shops for compliance with local, state and federal regulations; shop visits by community outreach workers to gauge shop worker knowledge and practices; a series of in-shop trainings focusing on regulatory compliance, worker health and safety issues, and best practices and products to reduce pollution; and making connections for shop owners between business development and technical & financial assistance so that they may make improvements in their businesses.

More information: EPA Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) Grants (

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