||In the spring of 2001, Joan Jouzaitis (EPA) and Karen Thomas (NEWMOA) regularly met with New Hampshire DES' Pollution Prevention Program (NHPPP) staff to help establish an outreach program for educators that would raise their awareness about issues relating to toxic materials commonly found throughout schools. At the same time, NHPPP included "Pollution Prevention in Schools" project activities as part of its fiscal year 2001 EPA Pollution Prevention Incentives for States (PPIS) grant proposal, and, by the summer of 2001, had plans well underway to start the project with a day-long winter workshop for educators, school officials and municipal officials.
On December 11, 2001, NH DES, EPA, and NEWMOA presented the Getting Toxic Chemicals Out of New Hampshire Schools workshop. Over 85 participants representing teachers, school administrators and local emergency response officials attended the workshop that offered both pollution prevention and compliance topics, including toxic materials identification, chemical tracking software, case studies, chemical management systems, integrated pest management and mercury in school. In the months following the workshop, over half a dozen school participants called NHPPP to praise the workshop and to describe how they changed their chemical management practices by removing chemicals, instituting chemical management systems, changing purchasing habits or changing their chemical use in classrooms.
The next phase in the project was to visit several schools, create a chemical inventory, and oversee actual removal of unwanted toxic chemicals. Over the past few years, NHPPP assisted a variety of NH schools to remove unwanted and unused chemicals from science labs, art rooms, and vocational studies departments. Clean outs have been successfully coordinated with local household hazardous waste events. NHPPP assisted seven N.H. towns with their school clean-outs. Through this effort, NHPPP developed a series of school best management practices (BMPs) for conducting a chemical inventory; managing mercury, photo processing, and woodworking chemicals; compiling a "red flag" list of chemicals; and using green cleaners and alternatives.
The BMPs will be sent to all New Hampshire high schools, and will be highlighted at a June 23rd, 2004, workshop for administrators, school nurses, science teachers, and facilities services. The BMPs are available at http://www.des.state.nh.us/nhppp/Schools/default.asp?link=bmp.
NHPPP is also working with schools to put procedures in place to prevent future stockpiling and mismanagement of chemicals. A New Hamsphire School Chemcial Policy has been sent to public high schools. This policy is based upon basic chemical management principles, and will show a school's committment to reducing hazardous materials in their building.