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They say an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. I wonder what the prevention of 100 million pounds of toxic pollution equals? Can you put a price on not releasing toxics into the environment? Eliminating the need for future clean up? Eliminating the impacts these toxic substances may have on human health? It’s impossible to quantify, but I think it’s crystal clear that preventing pollution is wiser than paying for it later. So, why are pollution prevention programs going under the knife across the US?

Case in point: The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) has been helping Massachusetts companies reduce and eliminate the use of toxic substances for 20 years (100 million pounds in one year alone), but has now lost its funding from the state. This loss has impacts well beyond Massachusetts, as they have been pioneers in the field, setting an example of how reducing the use of toxics and protecting human health and the environment could be economically beneficial to businesses.

According to Ken Geiser and Joel Tickner, faculty members at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell,

"This environmental program has resulted in a reduction in industry’s toxic chemical use by 41 percent, toxic chemical waste by 65 percent, and emissions by an impressive 91 percent. Manufacturers participating in the program recently reported $4.5 million in annual operating cost savings.

The program has long been hailed as a model of government effectiveness by many states and countries. The Canadian Province of Ontario just passed its own toxics use reduction statute modeled specifically on the Massachusetts law.

In combining the institute with the already significantly reduced University of Massachusetts budget, the Legislature has shifted the costs of the program from the industries who have annually paid for services to the families and students who attend the university. The results are unfair and now put the entire program in jeopardy. Industry fees should not be diverted from the purpose for which they were intended - supporting Massachusetts companies to be more efficient and environmentally friendly."

Can you take one minute to help persuade the state to restore the roughly $1 million the agency needs to operate - to call elected officials and urge them to pass a supplemental budget? Please help today. Pick up your phone and call: 

Senator Steven Panagiotakos (617) 722-1630

Representative Charles Murphy (617) 722-2990

Speaker of the House - Robert Deleo (617) 722-2500

Governor Patrick (888) 870-7770

What should you say? Try this:

"I am concerned about protecting children from toxic exposures.  Massachusetts took a giant step forward two decades ago with the creation of the Toxics Use Reduction Act, and the entire world has benefited from your demonstration that toxics can be reduced at the source, and that it can even save companies money.  We regret that the state no longer perceives the value of the program - it cut the Office of Technical Assistance by half in 2008, and now it has completely defunded the TUR Institute.  This is stunning.  An enormous amount has been gained by TURA and much will now be lost.  Your leadership inspired other states to follow suit.  We hope you will have a change of heart and save the TURI library, training, research, and services, all of which are exemplary and have served as a model for other programs around the world."


Please take a moment to call and share this information with others. Help prevent millions of pounds of toxic pollution.

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