Community Engagement Core
Margaret Reams (Leader), Jennifer Richmond Bryant, and Jennifer Irving
Roughly 53 million people in the United States live within 3 miles of a Superfund remediation site. Many different contaminants have been documented at Superfund and hazardous waste remediation sites, including Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals (EPFRs). The overall goal of the Community Engagement Core (CEC) is to help communities near Superfund sites and other sites where hazardous waste is managed to reduce exposure and enhance public health and safety. The CEC and the LSU SRP are funded through 2024 by a Federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The CEC has two major initiatives for the 2020-2024 funding cycle: the LSU Clean Air Research Engagement for Superfund Communities (LaCARES) and the LSU SRP Environmental Health Literacy Project.
LaCARES is a community engaged research program where residents of communities near hazardous waste management sites can share their health and environmental observations and obtain data for their community. Community residents will also work with Center researchers to help select locations field samplers to detect and assess exposures to EPFRs and other contaminants[JKI5] based on their observations.
Environmental Health Literacy
Environmental health literacy (EHL) involves recognizing that there is a connection between environmental exposures and health outcomes as well as understanding that an individual or a community may take actions to reduce their exposure risks. As part of the CEC’s EHL project, we will work collaboratively with residents to identify actions they may take that mitigate exposure risks, such as limiting outdoor activities, running air conditioners, and including more antioxidant nutrients in their diets. We will also help residents prepare comments for meetings with regulators so that they may participate more effectively in collective decisions about the handling of hazardous materials in their communities.