The overarching goal of this project is to educate community members on environmental justice issues related to long term health effects from proximity to aging hazardous industrial sites. We will focus on the communities of West and South Ambler PA where residents have had continuous occupational and environmental exposure to asbestos since the turn of the 20th century. Our proposal includes the use of a university-community-educational institution partnership to 1) develop an innovative museum exhibit that enables community members to relate the history of this community 2) provide materials and resources that will challenge students and community based scientists to think about and address health problems in new ways 3) enable community action groups to speak for the community in responsible ways and to 4) serve as a case study for other communities that face similar challenges. In order to achieve this goal we will accomplish the following: (1) Document the history of lower income African American and Italian immigrant asbestos workers their families and their neighbors in West and South Ambler PA from the period 1930 to the present. (2) Develop an accessible repository of documents photographs life stories news media and scientific data about the communities of South and West Ambler that can be used as resource material for students community researchers and action committees. (3) Evaluate the reach penetration and actions that result from project activities. (4) Engage a diverse group of stakeholders in the industrially impacted community to think and act creatively about issues that affect health and welfare. Our overall goal and specific aims have emerged from a close partnership among Ambler community members interdisciplinary faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and the Associate Director of the Environmental History and Policy Program at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia PA.
Center for Excellence in Environmental Toxicology Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania http://www.med.upenn.edu/ceet/index.shtml Chemical Heritage Foundation 315 Chestnut Street Philadelphia PA 19106 http://www.chemheritage.org/