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U.S. EPA Awards Grant for Improving Graffiti Cleanup

Release Date: 11/13/2013
Contact Information: David Yogi,, (415) 972-3350

$74,500 grant to leave mark on development of less-toxic paints and removal products

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today demonstrated at an event in San Francisco, Calif. the results of a $74,500 grant awarded to the Institute for Research and Technical Assistance (IRTA) to develop and identify less-toxic graffiti removal products, graffiti resistant paints, graffiti covering paints, and abrasive removal methods using alternative blasting media such as dry ice and recycled glass.

“Removing graffiti is nationwide problem, costing $12 billion each year,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Aside from eliminating graffiti eyesores, investing in research for safer graffiti removal methods has the potential to protect the environment and health of thousands of public cleanup workers.”

Public and private organizations spend millions of dollars each year in graffiti cleanup. For example, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spends more than $12 million each year to remove graffiti.

Many of the materials used in this process contain toxins that contribute to smog and pose a threat to cleanup workers and community members. To make cleanup safer for workers, the Los Angeles, Calif.-based IRTA has developed low-toxicity graffiti removers, and will work with paint formulators to develop graffiti resistant paints.

Grant work will be conducted with partners from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, San Francisco Department of the Environment, San Francisco Department of Environmental Health, San Francisco City Hall and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the City of Simi Valley. The institute will test the newly-developed products at sites in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas with city, county and utility groups, and project outcomes are intended for use by cities and counties nationally.

EPA’s Pollution Prevention Grants for States and Source Reduction Assistance grant programs support environmental projects that reduce or eliminate pollution at the source and encourage broad environmental concepts such as greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, toxic and hazardous materials reduction, resource conservation, efficient business practices and pollution prevention integration activities. Eligible applicants include states, local governments, tribes, nonprofit organizations, and other groups.

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For more information on the Source Reduction Assistance Grant program, visit: