231028 Safe disposal and reduction of household toxic waste in urban St. Louis: A video short from a community-based partnership

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 11:55 AM - 12:00 PM

Dianne Benjamin, EdD , Strategic Services, Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS), St. Louis, MO
Steven L. Brawley, MA , Strategic Services, Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS), St. Louis, MO
The video features Tox Away Day a spring 2009 event midway through the three-year ARCHS' St. Louis Area Communities Addressing Toxics (SLACAT) Community Partnership. Tox Away Day focuses on safe ways to dispose of household toxics (home cleaners, paint, lawn/garden chemicals, medicines, and more). SLACAT addresses air/water quality, lead abatement, and indoor mold issues to reduce risk exposures. The St. Louis neighborhoods engaged in Tox Away Day are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards. The project is funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. EPA's Office of Environment Justice that promotes local problem solving initiatives that in turn can be replicated across the country. ·Tox Away Day collected 5.68 tons (12,718 pounds) of household hazardous waste (HHW) from underserved residents in the same community where they live. More than 125 car and truckloads of items from these residents were dropped off at Tox Away Day. Results far exceeded expectations based on previous collection events in this same social justice community because of the number and extent of neighborhood stakeholders involved in the partnership. Community partners for Tox Away Day included local public schools, small family-owned businesses, nearby churches, city government, and environmental educators/pharmacists specializing in urban, low income populations. ·Residents participating in Tox Away Day have no community-based options for safe disposal of HHW and medications. They are particularly receptive to information and education about low cost, alternative products and methods that minimize generating HHW or unwanted medicines. ·All items collected at Tox Away Day were reused, recycled, or disposed of properly. Only the pesticides and the medications were incinerated. Over 90% of the remaining items got a second life. A local, licensed waste-hauler was used for Tox Away Day, further reducing the carbon footprint and environmental risks of the HHW and unwanted medicines.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
List at least two facts about the generation and reduction of household hazardous waste (HHW) in America. Explain at least two environmental protection reasons why it is important to dispose of HHW and medications safely. Discuss how lack of low cost, easily accessible safe disposal options for HHW and medications disproportionately impacts low income communities, particularly children, pregnant mothers, or seniors. Name at least three products that social justice residents described they brought to Tox Away Day and at least one reason they explained why it was important. Analyze why increased asthma/allergy rates, the high cost of typical commercial home cleaning products, and limited city government funds for hazardous waste collections are linked as possible social justice concerns. Formulate a recipe for a safe, low cost alternative home cleaning product, using the ingredients shown in the video or drawing on your own experience. Describe how the Tox Away Day safe disposal event increases both knowledge and access for a social justice community regarding environmental protection.

Keywords: Underserved Populations, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am co-manager of the environmental justice project that is the content of the video and I co-wrote the grant application that funds the project, as an employee of ARCHS. I am triple certified as an environmental educator. I earned a doctorate degree in education and subsequently have 30 years of professional experience as an educator and not-for-profit manager in St. Louis for urban audiences, including social justice populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.