(Rochester, N.Y., 07/21/2010) The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning has been selected as a winner of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Justice Achievement Award for its leadership in community-based efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning in the city of Rochester, New York. The Coalition has influenced major lead-related public policy changes, including a local lead ordinance requiring inspections for lead paint hazards. The innovative lead law also calls for public education, periodic evaluation, and a Citizens Advisory Committee to provide input on its implementation. The collaborative efforts of children’s advocates, community groups, educators, health care providers, housing organizations, government agencies, researchers and others have resulted in a 72 percent reduction in childhood lead poisoning in Rochester over the past 8 years. The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning is comprised of numerous community organizations and is extremely honored to share this prestigious award with five key partners—the City of Rochester, Empire Justice Center, Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, Monroe County Department of Public Health, and the University of Rochester.
"The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning has demonstrated with their many successes that community leaders can provide solutions to health threats people face,” said Judith Enck EPA Regional Administrator. “With its older housing units and a childhood poverty rate of 38%, one of New York’s highest, Rochester needed to take extraordinary steps to prevent lead poisoning. EPA enthusiastically supports groups like the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning that work to protect the health of their communities.”
Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income in the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning’s application was selected as one of only five chosen across the country for this national Environmental Justice Achievement Award was based on outstanding leadership in community-based efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning in the City of Rochester. EPA recognizes the Coalition’s success in helping vulnerable communities by adopting the goals of environmental justice. To be considered for the EPA Environmental Justice Achievement Award, groups were evaluated based on their collaboration, innovation, public involvement, capacity building, effectiveness and other criteria deemed essential to Environmental Justice.
As a partner of the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning is an education and advocacy organization and has the active involvement and expertise of over 100 community volunteers from a wide range of organizations and perspectives. The Coalition partnered with a wide range of direct action, outreach, and education programs in the Rochester area focused on reducing lead hazards in high-risk neighborhoods. By working with community and neighborhood groups, the Coalition has leveraged national housing research, best practices, and experiences from across the country to promote low-cost methods to protect all of the region’s children.