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LOWELL – The Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell awarded three grants to organizations in Westford, Worcester and Boston to promote safer products and practices used in households, community buildings and neighborhoods.

TURI issued grants to the Westford Water Department, the Regional Environmental Council in Worcester, and the Center for Healthy Homes and Neighborhoods at Boston University’s School of Public Health.

The Westford Water Department was awarded $14,000 to continue to build upon its project “Healthy Lawns for Healthy Families.” The goal is to raise public awareness of the effects of pesticides on human health and water resources. Materials and workshops will be developed to educate residents, nurseries, and lawn care providers about using safer alternatives for lawn care.

The Water Department will partner with nine neighboring towns — Acton, Ayer, Boxborough, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Groton, Harvard and Littleton — as well as the North Central Regional Solid Waste cooperative located in Groton to promote safer lawn care.

”The value of expanding the TURI grant project to more surrounding towns is that water resources are better protected by reducing pesticide use on a regional basis. These substances move through the environment and are hard to track where they originate, so use reduction is really the best way to ensure that water resources are protected,” said Elaine Major, project manager and Environmental Compliance Manager for Westford. “In Westford, we’re already building on last year’s success by developing a pesticide policy for the town that residents will have an opportunity to vote on.”

TURI awarded the Regional Environmental Council in Worcester a $12,000 grant to implement the “Safer Cleaning in Worcester Project.”

The third grant recipient is the Center for Healthy Homes and Neighborhoods at Boston University’s School of Public Health, which received $12,000 to implement the “Integrated Pesticide Management (IPM) Educator Training in Public Housing Project.”

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell provides the resources and tools to help Massachusetts companies and communities make the commonwealth a safer place to live and work. Established by the State’s Toxics Use Reduction Act of 1989, TURI provides research, training, technical support, laboratory services and grant programs to reduce the use of toxic chemicals while enhancing the economic competitiveness of local businesses.