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EPA Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign Awards Grant to TDEC

Release Date: 11/04/2004
Contact Information: Laura Niles, (404) 562-8353,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator, Jimmy Palmer, presented Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Betsy Child with a  $51,000 federal assistance grant today at Red Bank Middle School in Chattanooga, Tennessee.   The grant supports EPA’s Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3) program.   It will assist TDEC with the proper identification and disposal of hazardous chemicals from secondary schools.  EPA Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3) grants were awarded to only 10 recipients nationwide, in a total national sum of $500,000.  The grant award was presented as part of EPA’s Children’s Health Month to celebrate this year’s theme of “Protecting Children Where They Live and Learn”.

“This round of funding is intended not only to make a difference for children, teachers, administrators, and facilities personnel at individual schools, but to fund a variety of programs that we can learn from, build on, and improve for the coming years,” said Jimmy Palmer.  

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Lana Seivers took part in the ceremony as well.  TDEC and the Department of Education will work together to use the SC3 funding to educate teachers and students about proper chemical management, lab safety, green chemistry, and waste disposal. The SC3 program expands a previous pilot program directed by TDEC which promotes the removal of excess, legacy, unknown and other hazardous chemicals from secondary schools. Some of the chemicals having health and safety concerns are acute toxins, such as cyanide compounds; toxic heavy metals, such as mercury; and known or suspected carcinogens, such as formaldehyde.  

“The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, in partnership with the Department of Education, started the pilot program to dispose of potentially dangerous chemicals in our schools because it is vital that our children have a safe place to learn,” said Commissioner Child.  “It’s also an opportunity to teach about proper chemical use and disposal for the health our children and our environment.  We will put this money to good use.”

The goals of the SC3 are removal of potentially harmful chemicals from schools; emphasize the implementation of preventive programs such as chemical management training for lab instructors and microscale techniques; and raise national awareness of the issue of chemicals in schools.  The ultimate goal of the Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign is to create a chemically safer school environment in which chemicals are purchased wisely, stored safely, handled by trained personnel, used responsibly, and disposed of properly.

For more information on the EPA Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3), visit the website at