Neighborhood Toxics Educator Program
To address the fact that those most affected by toxics in our community are those least knowledgeable of toxics and their effects, a Neighborhood Toxics Education program was designed and implemented to bring toxics information proactively and directly to urban neighborhoods and citizens. View Presentation or View Flyer
The Neighborhood Toxics Educator Program in Rochester, New York, operated by Action for a Better Community, Inc. through the Center for Environmental Information, has been reaching a wide spectrum of residents from neighborhood block groups to college students studying community health. Raising awareness about the risks from toxics in and around the home is important, but in Rochester there have been unexpected positive results.
Ted Murray, the Toxics Educator, found himself asked by residents and other community outreach workers to visit individual homes to help identify specific areas of risk so that more targeted resource referral could be made. Primarily, those requests have been triggered by his presentation about asthma triggers and lead poisoning.
Following a Visual Survey Report model from the Community Environmental Health Resource Center, Ted examines the home, points out areas of concern, educates the resident as to basic remediation, and connects them with community resources when more complex evaluation of remediation is required.
During one such visit, in the home of a severe asthmatic resident that had made repeated hospital visits for emergency medical treatment, a significant problem with basement moisture and mold was identified. The Monroe County Health Department Indoor Air Quality inspector was called and made an immediate visit to the home. Working in cooperation with the local housing office and the Department of Social Services, Ted was able to help relocate the family to a safer residence.
This example of education, community agency cooperation, and advocacy captures the essence of CARE.
Action for a Better Community (ABC) and the University of Rochester Environmental Health Sciences Center are in the process of finalizing a presentation program that will assist residents in reducing exposure to toxics in their homes and neighborhoods. ABC hired Ted Murray in the position of Toxics Educator to begin providing information and resources to urban neighborhoods from August 2006.