bed bugs

Calming Fears and Dealing with Bed Bugs in Schools

By Marcia Anderson

NEWbedbugs.on.thumbParents, teachers and students all worry when bed bugs are spotted at school because they are a public health concern. No bigger than an apple seed, bed bugs can hide in tiny cracks or hitch a ride to school or home on coats, shoes, clothing, backpacks and books. A bed bug sighting might mean that there is an infestation. Here are a couple of examples of bed bug fears teachers and students have shared with me:

  • “Today every student on my school team received a letter about inspectors spotting a bed bug in one of our classrooms.…I don’t want to go to school until they’re gone. What can I do to keep these bugs out of my house?!”
  • “…I found a bed bug crawling on the desk….What can I do? I already talked to my teacher, friends, and principal but (they) have not done anything? What should I do?”

The common question in these examples and so many others I see or read, is: What should schools do to prevent and stop the spread of bed bugs?

Safety First. Administrators need to be cautious about applying pesticides in school. Although it’s important to keep schools free of pests, it’s also essential to use pesticides only when necessary. This thoughtful approach is important because students may be affected by pesticide use.

Action. Schools need to investigate the extent of the pest problem, then use an approach called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The IPM approach involves inspecting for pests, properly identifying what’s found, and taking steps like cleaning and daily maintenance to prevent pests. Vacuuming, steam cleaning, using hot dryers and plastic storage bins, and removing clutter are the preferred actions when a single bed bug is sighted in a school.

Prevention. There are things students and teachers can do to prevent the spread of bed bugs, like placing coats and book bags into individual plastic containers or bags, and carrying as few items as possible from home to school. Never throw coats or book bags on the floor, bed or couch. Book bags and jackets should be treated in a hot dryer for 30 minutes once a week, especially if the school has had a recent bed bug sighting.

placement of bookbag into plastic bin

Just because bed bugs are tiny doesn’t mean they don’t pose a big threat. Following these tips, educating staff and parents, and having an effective pest management plan can go a long way in reducing the number and intensity of bed bug infestations. It also will certainly reduce the spread of bed bug hysteria when an incident does occur.

About the author: Marcia Anderson is with EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM in Dallas, Texas. She holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Montclair State University along with degrees in Biology, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Instruction and Curriculum. Marcia was formerly with the EPA New York Pesticides Program and has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, at several universities.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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A Mother and Her Son Deal with Bed Bugs.

By Marcia Anderson

Bed bug up close - Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki

Bed bug up close – Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki

As a former EPA Regional bed bug consultant, I still occasionally receive calls to assist people with bed bug related issues. A few months ago, I answered several calls and emails from Mattie, a distraught mom who not only had a bed bug infestation, but had received questionable advice about bed bug control that affected her son’s health. Here is her story.

Mattie discovered she had a bed bug problem when her nine year old grandson went back home with his parents with bumps and swollen arms and legs. His parents took him to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with having an allergic reaction to bites from some bugs. Mattie’s son, Peter, was also bitten and showed allergic symptoms. Peter suffers from chronic respiratory issues.

They soon discovered that the bites were likely from bed bugs that they found when looking around the apartment. The bed bugs were seen coming out of a crevice in the wall above Peter’s bed. That wall, unknown to Mattie’s family at the time, is adjacent to another apartment that was recently found to have bed bugs.

The landlord instructed Mattie to wash EVERYTHING and gave her just five days to clean out her entire apartment. “We had to wash over 35 loads of clothing, bedding and everything else that had fabric. Peter and I were exhausted,” Mattie wrote in one of her emails.

In the meantime, the landlord arranged for a well-known pest control service to treat the apartment. Mattie reminded the landlord about Peter’s and her health concerns. The landlord told her that they could return to the apartment after it was sprayed and not to worry – the pest control company was professional and would not apply anything that wasn’t safe. The landlord also informed her that the pest control company said there was a severe care of bed bugs in Peter’s room but that no other rooms were infested. Peter’s mattress and bed would need to be thrown out.

Mattie and Peter were given a temporary hotel stay by a local aid agency because of their asthma. She found that four different pesticides had been applied in the apartment and that the pest control company would be returning in five days to check and re-spray.

Mattie continued, “When Peter and I returned to the apartment after two days, we became ill. I could smell the spray. My son began to have tightness in his chest, and so did I. It was apparent that even with the windows open and the ceiling fan blowing that it was going to be impossible to stay in that apartment.” Mattie was concerned about the effect of these pesticides on their respiratory systems, and both had to have breathing treatments when they arrived at the respite house for the rest of the week.

I responded to Mattie: “I was surprised that the pest control company used all of those pesticides. There are other methods of treating bed bugs, such as radiant heat, steam and freezing that do not require the use of pesticides. These methods can easily be followed-up by the use of bed bug barriers and low toxicity pesticides placed strategically in walls and other areas that would not exacerbate your families’ medical conditions.

You do not need to throw out any mattresses, box springs or beds. Instead, purchase encasements for each. The encasements will trap any bed bugs and they will die. If this was a severe infestation, as the landlord reported, some of the bugs would have spread into surrounding rooms, so precautions should be taken throughout the apartment. Until your bed bug problem is gone, use clear plastic boxes to store your clothes and other items that you use on a regular basis. Bed bugs will have a difficult time climbing up the slick plastic sides of the boxes, eliminating yet another hiding place.

As you sleep, bed bugs will try to climb onto the bed for a blood meal. So, move your bed a few inches away from the wall and ensure no bedding is touching the floor. Then, place bed bug interceptors, available on the Internet, under the bed legs and under the legs of all other plush furniture in your apartment.

Be aware that in most cases, pesticides alone will not eliminate bed bugs. Effective bed bug control requires a diverse set of practices called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on knowledge of the pest and a combination of common sense practices, such as inspection, monitoring, reducing clutter, the use of physical barriers, and the judicious and careful use of pesticides, if needed.

An astute pest management professional would have used a less toxic approach to rid you of the bed bugs. I am sorry that you had such an awful experience and hope that others reading this article will learn from your painful lesson.”

Be a strong advocate for your family’s health and for an IPM approach. Find out the exact course of action that is planned for your dwelling BEFORE they treat. Insist on exploring preventative and non-pesticidal options first. For more information on bed bugs and their control go to: http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs.

About the Author: Marcia is with EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM in Dallas, Texas. She holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Montclair State University along with degrees in Biology, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Instruction and Curriculum. Marcia was formerly with the EPA Region 2 Pesticides Program and has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology, and Oceanography at several universities.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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“Don’t Bring Unwanted Guests Home From Vacation”

By John Butler

Summer is here, and that means vacation. Warm sunny days, relaxation, and maybe that family vacation to a seaside hotel or mountain resort. In hotels large and small, a problem is lurking: bed bugs. The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) has long been a pest – feeding on blood, causing itchy bites, and generally irritating its human hosts.

Experts believe the increase in bed bugs in the U.S. may be due to more travel, lack of knowledge about prevention, and ineffective pest control practices by hotels.

So, I want to share some easy ways to avoid bringing bed bugs home from vacation.

  1. When you travel, take a flashlight along to inspect your hotel room. The most common place for bed bugs to hide is on the mattress and box spring. When not feeding, bed bugs can be found around the bed; near piping, seams and tags of the mattress and box spring; and in cracks on the bed frame and headboard. Check furniture, the floor around the bed, behind the headboard, and even the closet and drawers.
  2. Look for warning signs. Other than seeing actual bugs, warning signs to look for include dark spots about the size of a pencil point on bedding, which could be from their fecal matter. Also, look for small white specks, which may be eggs. Being aware helps avoid spreading these excellent hitch hikers.
  3. Keep your luggage off the bed and floor.
  4. Inspect, inspect, inspect! If you find signs of bed bugs, notify the hotel immediately. If they aren’t giving you any satisfaction, you can call the local or county health department. Last October, a couple of co-workers and I stayed at a hotel that at first glance was not top-of-the-line. I thought for sure I’d find bed bugs. We looked high and low and when we were finished it looked like a wild boar had run through the rooms. But, we didn’t find any signs of bed bugs and my colleagues and I felt much better during our stay.
  5. When you return home from a trip, it is a smart idea to wash your traveling clothes as soon as you can to kill any stray hitch hikers. You might want to also dry them on high heat. Also, do a final inspection of your luggage before storing it away.

For more information on protecting yourself and your family from bed bugs.

About the author: John Butler is the Pesticides Expert for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Two NYU Co-eds, Bring Home Unwelcome Guests from their Spring Break Trip

By Marcia Anderson

I just got a panicked call from Amanda, a mom whose daughter and roommate came home from a spring break trip to Panama City, Florida, with bed bugs. Amanda told me that a recent cold front brought temperatures down to near freezing in Northern Florida, so instead of partying on the beach, 20 or so students crammed into a beachside motel where some friends were staying and they returned to New York City with more than they bargained for.

Luckily, New York University has extensive experience with bed bugs and has a lot of useful information on its website.

Here is some additional advice for Amanda and other parents of traveling students if they suspect that their offspring came home with a few hitchhikers:

Upon arriving home, never place luggage or clothing directly on the bed. Sprinkle a little talcum powder on the bottom of the bathtub and have your student drop their luggage in the bathtub along with all of their outer clothing. A bathtub provides a slippery surface hindering the bed bugs from climbing out and crawling around. The talcum powder makes even less traction for the bed bug.

Heat dry all clothing, including sneakers, sandals and jackets, in a clothes dryer set on high for a half hour. Use a large garbage bag to transport the clothes to the dryer. Dispose of the bag, and place the clean clothes in a clean bag.

Inspect and wipe down all other items, such as packages, very carefully. If you are unsure about some items, like books, place them in a zip-lock bag and freeze for a week.

Don’t forget to vacuum your student’s path from the front door to the bathroom drop site. When finished, vacuum up a little talcum powder as well. It will make the insides of the vacuum too slippery for vacuumed bed bugs to crawl out. Place the vacuum bag and contents in a plastic bag, knot it or seal it tightly and dispose of it properly.

Take your time and do a thorough job, as bed bugs can hide in the tiniest of cracks or crevices and can live for over six months without a meal. In addition, it only takes one pregnant female bed bug to be responsible for creating 32,000 additional bed bugs in six months.

What about the car that transported her home? A steam cleaning of the interior should take care of any unwanted hitchhikers.

Still worried? Purchase bed bug interceptors and place them under all bed, couch and upholstered chair legs. Keep the interceptors in place for at least six months. Move the bed a few inches away from the wall, so that these tiny vampires can’t find a way up onto the bed to feed on a sleeping victim. Remove anything stored under the bed. You can also sprinkle a little Diatomaceous Earth (DE) under the bed, couch or recliner. Follow all label directions. DE works to kill bed bugs physically, not chemically.

Amanda, next year for spring break, send your daughter and her friends with the EPA Bed Bug Traveler card. It’s the size of a credit card, but packs a lot of important information.

About the Author: Marcia is the bed bug and vector management specialist for the Pesticides Program in Edison. She has a BS in Biology from Monmouth, second degree in Environmental Design-Landscape Architecture from Rutgers, Masters in Instruction and Curriculum from Kean, and is a PhD in Environmental Management candidate from Montclair – specializing in Integrated Pest Management and Environmental Communications. Prior to EPA, and concurrently, she has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology and Oceanography at Kean University for 14 years.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Answering Fears of Students about Bed Bugs in their City Schools

By Marcia Anderson

Byron e-mails: “Today every student on my team at school received a letter about inspectors spotting a bed bug in one of our classrooms. They said they will not issue a pest control spray because it is just a small case of one bed bug… I don’t want to go to school until the pests are clear, but sadly that’s part of my life and I have to go. What can I do to keep these disgusting creatures out of my home?!”

Anna writes: “…My school has a bed bug infestation because of what I found last week in class. I was at my table when I found a bedbug crawling on the desk. I immediately killed it and blood came out of it. It was small so there must be more. What can I do? I already advised some teachers and students as well as my principal but (they) have not done anything? What should I do?”

Dear Byron and Anna,

Your school administrators are correct advising parents to be on the lookout for bed bugs that may hitch a ride to school. However, the sighting of one bed bug does not mean that there is an infestation at your schools. Chances are that the bed bug(s) hitchhiked in from a student or staff member that either has bed bugs at home, or picked them up on the way to school.

Your administrators were being cautious about applying chemicals in a school that may not have an infestation. Although it is important to keep schools free of pests, many pesticides are inherently toxic and may have potential health risks, especially when used in the vicinity of children. Because humans and pests depend on the same food chain, it is not surprising that the use of chemicals that are intended to kill pests comes with some unknown risks to people. Sprayed pesticides may become airborne and settle on toys, desks, counters, shades and walls. Children and staff may breathe in contaminated air or touch contaminated surfaces and unknowingly expose themselves to invisible residues. Accumulations of pesticides can linger for months beyond the initial application. The proper course of action is to investigate the extent of the pest problem and then use the least toxic steps to mitigate the problem, such as barriers, sanitation and maintenance prior to pesticide applications, if needed. This is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which is mandated for schools in many states and practiced in New York City schools. Vacuuming, steam cleaning, the use of hot dryers, plastic boxes for storage, and removing clutter where pests may harbor is the preferred action for single bed bug sightings in schools. More

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Sara and a Social Service Oversight

By Marcia Anderson

A bed bug story comes to my desk from Sara:

“I have been taking care of young people from a social services program for over 11yrs and don’t plan to stop, however, now I have bed bugs in my home that came from one of the residents that I have taken into my home.  The program knew that the young man had a history of transporting bed bugs from home to home but never informed me of this information.  I found out only after my house had become infested.  The young man would go on a home visit every other week to his house and then return to my home.

Bed bug eggs

After the young man came back from one of his home visits he broke down and told me that every time he went on a home visit he would wake up and find bed bugs on him.  The young man was told not to tell anyone. In January, when we picked him up from the home visit we had him put his suitcase in a garbage bag.  Sure enough when we arrived home the suitcase had crawling bed bugs.  Since then, I got a very bad infection from bed bug bites that turned into blisters and sores that were very hard to heal.

I had a pest control come out to my home to confirm that I had bed bugs and I was told to throw out most of my furniture and belongings worth thousands of dollars. It’s going to cost at least $1400 to treat my home.  I had asked the social services program to work with me and a least pay for the treatment because they knew about this young man history and didn’t share it with me before I took him in to live with me. The program only offered me $500.00 for everything

Who can I hold responsible for the cost of treatments and the anguish that I have gone through? What else can I do to protect my family from a reoccurrence?”

Dear Sara,

First, you are doing a great thing for children that really need the help, so keep up the good work. Second, you should not have lost any furniture. It is not hard – just time consuming to control bed bugs. If you were told to discard items from your apartment, you need to discard that pest control company. Only the most infested pieces may need to be discarded, anything else can be heat or steam treated. Next, use encasements on the mattresses and box springs and interceptors under bed and couch legs. Clothes, curtains, and linens can be treated in a clothes dryer set on high to kill both bed bugs and eggs. More

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Carpet Beetles are Welcome in my House if it Means not Having Bed Bugs!

By Marcia Anderson

Several months ago I received an e-mail from a city resident who was getting bites at night that she thought were from a spider. Large, and itchy, but with a burning sensation that told her they weren’t mosquito bites. The problem escalated until she had over 40 red welts on her legs. “I was getting groups of about 5-20 ‘bites’ every night, and my husband had none, and he wore boxers! Also, after the first few nights, I was wearing heavy sweat pants to bed tucked into my socks, and still found marks! “

Carpet beetles are cariophites, which means they live on dead organic materials

She cleaned and vacuumed everything in the bedroom and changed the sheets, but the next morning she still had a few bites. She then went on the internet, and found that this was NOT the work of a spider, but possibly bed bugs. They quarantined the bedroom after thoroughly cleaning and spraying everything with over-the-counter pesticides, but no evidence of ANY bugs was found. She checked the sheets for blood spots, actual bugs – dead or alive, and shed skins, but found none.

One pest company had given her a quote of $1200 to come and treat for bed bugs, but a second pest company suspected carpet beetles instead of bed bugs due to the fact that the wife was getting the ‘bites’ and the husband was not. Some people are allergic to carpet beetles and some are not, however, almost everyone has some allergy to bed bugs. The pest company arrived, and upon inspection, no bed bugs were found, however, a few dead carpet beetles were discovered.

Just like bed bugs: 1.) carpet beetles are attracted to you when you are sleeping because of the CO2 gas you exhale, 2.) carpet beetles are very shy, so they are hard to find, and 3.) carpet beetles also usually come out in the wee hours of the morning. The difference is: bed bugs bite, but carpet beetles eat natural fibers, like wool blankets, natural fibers and feathers, and do not bite. More

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Case of the Bed Bugs in the Prosecutor’s Office

Bed bug interceptor placed under chair leg.

By Marcia Anderson

My first bed bugs case as the R2 bed bug specialist was a Prosecutor who called complaining about bites on the legs and arms.

I found out that eight offices in the high rise Manhattan building where the prosecutor office is located had bed bug sightings. None of the rooms where the pests were found were contiguous and sightings were scattered on multiple floors. (Meaning they were probably from multiple sources.)

Bed bugs typically search for a meal in the wee hours of the morning and live within 20 feet of a bed. Well, when bed bugs drop into the Prosecutor’s office, they are forced to adapt their feeding schedule. When they get very, very hungry they are drawn to their favorite food source, human blood, so they come out to feed any time of the day or night.  During our lawyer’s long working hours, the bed bugs were attracted to the carbon dioxide that the lawyer exhaled and the warmth of his body, so the little vampires commenced with their warm meal.

Where were the bed bugs hiding? Envision a visit to the Prosecutors Office: Many of the offices have soft carpets, sofas and cushy chairs. In addition, some offices have tons of papers piled on the desk and files flowing onto other cabinets; the signs of a hard working, successful lawyer.  Those papers and plush materials provide the bed bugs with plenty of places to hide without the worry of being easily seen, vacuumed up or cleaned out. More

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Bed bugs? | “The Bites are so Itchy, we Scratch until we Bleed!”

By Marcia Anderson

I receive complaints from residents who have, or think they have bed bugs, and are desperately seeking help. These people have exhausted all possible sources of help: landlords, pest control operators, over-the-counter products, and online solutions. Desperate, they contact the EPA, and are referred to a Bed Bug expert in their Region – me. The first thing I do is calm them down and reassure them that there is hope. They can get rid of bed bugs. By sharing this story that crossed my desk, I hope to help others in similar situations.

Sean e-mailed me; “We are convinced we have bed bugs. My wife thinks she found a bed bug. We have read articles on-line, and looked at pictures, and then we sprayed, heated, caulked, washed, dried, and wrapped our mattress and box spring in bed bug cases (encasements). We are getting bitten every night. After thorough inspection we still see nothing. Is it possible they are elsewhere in the house, in our vehicles? Should we spray more? And what brand?”

My follow up call revealed that Sean’s family had moved recently, and the itching continued through the entire move.  Whatever was bothering them had traveled with them. And the problem was becoming unbearable. Had they collected any live bugs?  No. Nor had they seen any of the tell tale signs of bed bugs: shed skins, corpses, blood stains, or droppings on the bed sheets.

Scabies mites burrow into the skin resulting in open sores on hands, wrists, elbows, or anywhere on the body. Scabies is diagnosed through microscopic examination of skin scrapings taken from the affected area.

I told Sean, “From what you describe, and the controls you have put in place, I don’t think you have bed bugs. Let’s try Plan B.”  Was the family being plagued with spiders, carpet beetles, mites?  I suggested he contact the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University.

Sean wrote Cornell, “Marcia Anderson of EPA referred me to you. After describing our situation, Marcia doesn’t think we have bed bugs. We know what they look like, where to find them, and how to get rid of them.  The bites are so itchy, we scratch until we bleed! We have tried numerous anti-itch creams, but none take away the itch!”

Cornell provided some excellent information and recommended a pest control company inspection. Later, a frustrated Sean called me again. ‘Still no bugs but horrid itching.’ I suggested they visit a dermatologist to diagnose the bites.

Sean wrote back; “Marcia, you were right. We thought we had bed bugs, but it turned out to be scabies! We were successfully treated by a dermatologist. My son got them at daycare.”

About the Author: Marcia is the bed bug and vector management specialist for the Pesticides Program in Edison. She has a BS in Biology from Monmouth, second degree in Environmental Design-Landscape Architecture from Rutgers, Masters in Instruction and Curriculum from Kean, and is a PhD in Environmental Management candidate from Montclair – specializing in Integrated Pest Management and Environmental Communications. Prior to EPA, and concurrently, she has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology and Oceanography at Kean University for 14 years.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Environmental Justice Small Grants Making a Big Difference in Local Communities

By Sheila Lewis

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite!” This phrase has taken on new life in Cleveland, which has been plagued by these nasty parasites. Many families in the city are ill-informed about bedbugs, and some people have endangered their health trying to combat infestations with dangerous pesticides.

To address this growing public health concern, the EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Program awarded the Cleveland Tenants Organization (CTO) $25,000 to educate tenants and landlords about how to prevent and safely control bedbugs. By the time the project is complete, CTO plans to help educate more than 10,000 residents on how to prevent infestations before they start, which, Mike Piepsny, Executive Director of CTO says, “can save a landlord tens of thousands of dollars.”

The CTO grant is one of the 47 awarded in October 2011 by the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice that is already making a big difference in communities across the country.

Far to the north of Ohio, a grant was awarded to The Zender Group in Anchorage, Ala. to educate and engage tribal leaders and villagers on effective ways to manage solid waste. For many Alaskan tribal communities, open dump sites are the only option for household and commercial wastes. These sites are a threat to public health and increase communities’ risks of contamination from hazardous materials and pathogens.

Since the grant was awarded, the Zender Group has reached almost 100 tribal/native organizations and hosted a tribal summit on solid waste, which was attended by representatives from 20 different tribes.

And, in New York City, WEACT is using their grant to educate residents about the dangers of lead exposure, a toxic metal that is especially dangerous for children and is prevalent in older housing, which is often in low-income communities. The project goal is to provide more than 600 families with information about how to ensure their homes are healthy and safe. The project, explains WEACT’s Ogonnaya Newman, “is an opportunity for engagement, empowerment and education because families are able to identify potential sources of harm and work on proactive strategies to address them.”

Since 1994, the EJ small grants program has provided more than $23 million to fund projects that help protect and improve people’s health and the environment in more than 1,200 communities across the nation.

About the author: Sheila Lewis has dedicated 30 years to federal service and has worked to support community-based efforts since 1999. She currently serves as the Grants Program Manager for the Office of Environmental Justice in Washington, D.C.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.