The longstanding practice of the disposal of hazardous waste at landfills, industrial plants military bases, and other locations across the country has contaminated many thousands of sites and nearby communities. (Ruttenberg and Associates, Inc. 1996: 2). In 1992, a report by the United States General Accounting Office identified environmental and public health risks at these hazardous waste sites that included contaminated air, direct contact with hazardous waste contaminated drinking water, ecological damage, fire and explosions, hazards, exposure through the food chain, and contaminated ground water, soil and surface water (U.S. General Accounting Office 1992). An estimated one in four Americans lives within 3 miles of a hazardous waste site. The number of identified sites for cleanup is astounding. Through the end of fiscal year 2007, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had identified 1,569 sites on the National Priorities List (U.S. GAO 2008). Tens of thousands of sites are listed under the jurisdiction of the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. Additionally, there are more than 295,000 underground storage tanks that require closure or removal and as many as 425,000 state and private sites (Ruttenberg and Associates, Inc. 1996). Between 70,000 and 80,000 chemicals are on the commercial market and hence in the environment with nearly six trillion pounds produced annually in the United States. Every year 1000 - 2000 new chemicals enter the market and consequently the environment (Kreisel, 1998). Neurotoxic chemicals are significant contributors to human health problems that result from environmental and work place chemical exposure (Donkin and Williams, 2000). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that exposure to neurotoxic chemicals is one of the 10 leading causes of work-related disease and injury and that over twenty-five percent (25%) of the chemicals for which the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has established threshold limit values (TLV) have demonstrated nervous system effects. The EPA report, Cleaning Up the Nation's Waste Sites: Markets and Technology Trends 2004 Edition (U.S. EPA 2004), found more than 77,000 sites contaminated with hazardous waste and petroleum products, with up to 9,267 more discovered each year. By 2039, as many as 355,000 hazardous waste sites in the U.S. could require cleanup. Additionally, in its 2008-2012 Five Year Plan, the Department of Energy (DOE) estimates completing cleanup of 100 contaminated sites by 2025. Under current regulatory requirements and practices, an estimated 294,000 sites (range 235,000 -355,000) in the seven market segments will need to be cleaned up. This estimate does not include sites where cleanup is completed or ongoing. More than ninety percent (90%) of these sites are in programs that tend to have relatively smaller, less-complex cleanup projects, such as the underground storage tank (UST) program (125,000 sites) and state voluntary and mandatory cleanup programs (150,000). The nation must clean up hazardous waste sites. This is an arduous task, requiring the efforts of millions of workers and hundreds of billions of dollars. It is estimated that on - site remedial action alone for the years 1990-2010, will utilize three million jobs a year, or 4.5 billion hours of labor. Accordingly, operations and maintenance work will require another one billion-labor hours (Ruttenberg and Associates, Inc. 1996). Hazardous waste cleanup, generally, improves the environment. It can also have the added benefit of growing the economy. For example, waste management activities grew by more than 40 percent in the first three years of the decade (U.S. Department of Energy 1994). A 1994 Environmental Protection Agency reports found that for every $1 of Superfund expenditure, $3.10 of goods and services was generated (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1994: 12). Specifically calculated over the period of FY 81 - FY92, $7.6 billion of superfund procurement had a total direct and indirect economic impact of $ 23.5 billion. Since September 11th, federal officials have warned the chemical industry that terrorist launched attacks could turn hazardous materials plants into weapons of mass destruction (Gremaldi and Gugliotta 2001: AO1). The magnitude of a terrorist attack on US chemical facilities could easily exceed the loss of life suffered on September 11. The Surgeon General of the U.S. Army identified chemical plants as second only to bio-terrorism in terrorists'threats to the United States. Of the nation's 15,000 chemical facilities, the U.S. General Accounting Office (2004) reports that 123 are close enough to potentially endanger more than one million people if a terrorist attack occurred. Some 700 are close enough to put 100,000 at risk, and about 2,900 are close enough to put at least 10,000 lives at risk. The Consortium training is designed to meet emerging threats and opportunities posed by challenges associated with changing climate, alternative energy sources, and rapidly penetrating new materials and technologies into global commerce. Greater awareness surrounding climate change has increased our concern about more natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, which resulted in 6-8 million gallons of petroleum released onto grounds and waterways from four major oil spills and 134 minor spills. The Consortium training focuses on legacy cleanup of hazardous wastes as well as training for the new """"""""green"""""""" and clean-energy economy. New waste cleanup approaches focus on green assessment, green remediation and green construction. The clean-energy economy is projected to create new 'pathways out of poverty'for the 78 million people in the U.S. (roughly 25 percent of the population) who are presently poor or near-poor, and raise living standards more generally for low-income people in the United States. According to the University of Massachusetts, Green Prosperity: How Clean Energy Policies Can Fight Poverty and Raise Living Standards in the United States report, investment in """"""""green jobs"""""""" in a clean-energy economy, including weatherization, would produce 31,658 jobs, over 17,000 for metro Atlanta workers with high school degrees or less, and cut unemployment by over one percentage point. In the Detroit metropolitan area, investment in a clean energy economy would produce 23,880 new jobs overall, with 11,312 jobs for workers with high school degrees or less. In the New Orleans metropolitan area, investment in a clean energy economy would produce 6,629 jobs, over 3,700 for workers with high school degrees or less, and cut unemployment by over one percentage point. (Pollin, Wicks-Lim, and Garnett-Peltier 2009). In 2009, more than $78.72 billion were allocated to clean energy and weatherization under the Recovery Act. Of this total, $50.7 million was allocated to Louisiana, $248 million in Georgia, $49.4 million in Mississippi, and $243 million in Michigan. The overall goal of the Weatherization Assistance Program is to reduce the burden of energy prices on the disadvantaged. As hazardous waste cleanup expands and intensifies, millions of individuals will spend a portion of their working lives in the hazardous waste cleanup process. It is clear that if the United States is to maintain its position of economic and political leadership in the world, fundamental changes must occur in the workplace and in the educational programs that support employment. The proposed program will: (1) build the capacity of HBCUs and CBOs to deliver technically sound hazardous waste worker training;(2) reach underserved workers in the target population;and (3) provide training for workers in the emerging area of green remediation/green jobs, to address new hazards to the hazardous waste workforce in areas where municipal financial restraints limit opportunities for workforce training (i.e., firemen, policemen etc.) Specifically, the project will service (1) HBCUs in the southern region that have been historically under-resourced and whose facilities personnel are less well-trained/prepared to handle hazardous materials;(2) small unions mostly composed of minority workers with education, language and literacy deficiencies and (3) first responders from small or under-resourced municipalities, where budgetary constraints have not allowed full participation in training programs even in cases with no costs except travel (i.e., firemen, police etc.). The Consortium is becoming recognized as a resource in its geographical area. Continued funding will provide a stable base to assure that core consortium personnel are available for outreach and the coordination of a cadre of personnel for program delivery.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Hazardous Waste Worker Health and Safety Training Cooperative Agreements (NIEHS) (U45)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-SET-G (U4))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Dillard University
New Orleans
United States
Zip Code