ISSA Partners With Penn State And CUNY Medicine To Advance Environmental Justice

ISSA vector LogoISSA has announced a partnership with Penn State’s College of Medicine and The City University of New York School of Medicine (CUNY Medicine) to improve human health and the environment in disadvantaged communities across Pennsylvania and New York. The initiative will be funded by a $1.19 million Pollution Prevention (P2) grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ISSA’s collaboration with Penn State and CUNY Medicine is one of 24 recipients across the country selected by the EPA.

“Healthy buildings, healthy people — this is the vision,” Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, Senior Director of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, said. “The built environment is crucial to human health. In the U.S., indoor pollution is estimated to cause thousands of cancer deaths and hundreds of thousands of respiratory health problems each year. In addition, hundreds of thousands of children each year experience elevated blood levels resulting from their exposure to indoor pollutants.”

The proposed project between ISSA, Penn State, and CUNY Medicine will provide technical assistance to business sectors to develop a university-trade association-stakeholder partnership that increases the knowledge, demand, and use of the EPA’s more than 1,900 Safer Choice labeled products. The provided technical assistance will include hosting focus groups and stakeholder interviews, designing community-based solutions, and offering Safer Choice training to businesses and end-users.

“Cleaning products are household items that we each use in our daily lives. What we may not realize is often products have irritants that not only hurt us but also the environment,” Penn State College of Medicine professor Rebecca Bascom, MD, MPH, said. “This project will provide education and technical assistance to businesses to ensure the people using the cleaning products can do their jobs safely, regardless of the language they speak or other socio-economic factors.”

A press release added: “The EPA funding is part of nearly $16 million in P2 grants made possible by U.S. President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $100 million program investment. The grants enable states to provide businesses with technical assistance to help develop and adopt pollution prevention practices that advance environmental justice in underserved communities while also strengthening economic growth and addressing environmental, public health, and social issues that affect their communities. According to the EPA, there are more than 3,200 disadvantaged communities in Pennsylvania and over 4,900 in New York that could potentially benefit from ISSA’s collaboration with Penn State and CUNY.”

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