This fall, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is partnering with Minneapolis businesses and community partners to reduce toxic chemical air emissions.
MnTAP helps businesses across Minnesota prevent pollution, use resources efficiently, and reduce energy use and costs to improve public health and the environment.
For the Minneapolis project, MnTAP is focusing on helping local industrial businesses adopt less toxic, lower-emission degreasing solvents, which are commonly used to remove contaminants from machinery and automotive parts. Specifically, MnTAP aims to help the facilities screen and eliminate aerosol products as well as high-hazard bulk liquid degreasing products. The service will also be identifying less hazardous alternative products that they can use, such as water-based solvents.
MnTAP is uniquely suited for the work due to its technical expertise and previous experience with vehicle maintenance, industrial maintenance, and small-scale product cleaning and degreasing operations.
“Our work to prevent pollution at the source has allowed us to identify less toxic, lower-emission degreasing products than can reduce worker exposures to toxins while improving air quality for businesses and surrounding neighborhoods,” said MnTAP director, Dr. Laura Babcock.
In order to identify businesses interested in reducing their emissions, MnTAP is partnering with the University’s Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC).
“Our goal is to link the University of Minnesota to urban communities to advance learning, improve quality of life, and discover breakthrough solutions to critical problems,” said UROC director of administration and projects Mr. James De Sota. “This project meets all of those goals, and we look forward to being a bridge between MnTAP and North Minneapolis businesses to create positive change.”
With the help of UROC, MnTAP will work with at least 10 businesses to support adoption of safer alternatives through technical assistance and free product samples.
The project is funded by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). “We’re impressed with the results MnTAP has achieved helping businesses adopt less toxic degreasing solvents in other parts of the state, so we’re pleased to support bringing this effort to North Minneapolis,” said Mr. Mark Snyder, MPCA Pollution Prevention Coordinator.