March 25, 2023 8:29 am

Published: three/17/2023 four:17:36 PM

GREENFIELD — City officials are partnering with the Lunt Neighborhood Action Group, a nonprofit with far more than one hundred members, to apply for a federal grant to fund epidemiological study on whether or not nearby overall health difficulties are connected to chemical substances at the former Lunt Silversmiths web page.

The Neighborhood Environmental Justice grant readily available by means of the Environmental Protection Agency would give up to $500,000 more than 3 years, according to resident Susan Worgaftik, who approached Mayor Roxann Wedegartner and Overall health Director Jennifer Hoffman about the prospective partnership. The grant would fund epidemiological study on prospective cancers and other illnesses linked with trichloroethylene, or TCE, the chemical of concern at the Federal Street house. TCE is a synthetic solvent that can trigger adverse overall health effects which includes cancer, developmental and neurological effects, and liver toxicity, according to the EPA.

“We did some door-knocking to verify in with people today,” stated Worgaftik, who lives in the neighborhood. “In that procedure, we identified that there was a neighbor of mine who had the exact same sort of lymphoma that I have, and she lives ten homes away. That is a lymphoma that could have been engendered by TCE. We also had heard of a couple of people today who had Parkinson’s illness in the region, which is also a illness that can be engendered by TCE. … We wanted to locate out if there is an concern.”

The house in query at 298 Federal St. — which the city leases to 401 Liberty St., a restricted liability firm that in turn has active subleases with Behavioral Overall health Network and Clinical &amp Assistance Alternatives — has an agreement that offers the firm the choice to obtain. Wedegartner previously explained that the city took the house for back taxes not extended ahead of 2015. Till 2009, when the company closed, the web page was residence to a manufacturer of sterling silver spoons, forks, cups and other products.

Concern about the status of the site’s environmental cleanup was raised late final year when the house was brought ahead of City Council to declare it as surplus and authorize a sale by the mayor.

“[With the research], we can educate people today about what they have to have to do to get themselves tested and verify out what their scenarios are,” Worgaftik stated.

Worgaftik stated there are statistical techniques to decide causality as properly as survey and discussion approaches, and that is specifically why the nonprofit Lunt Neighborhood Action Group is interested in bringing in authorities.

“We’re just a neighborhood organization,” she stated. “I have no scientific education. We’re searching to the scientists to be in a position to inform us what we have to have to do.”

Hoffman — who noted the grant application comes with the help of Wedegartner, the Neighborhood Overall health Center of Franklin County and Valley Health-related Group — stated a graduate student operating with the Overall health Division could aid with study and information collection. The division also operates with an epidemiologist.

“Right now, we’re placing our scope of practice with each other on queries to ask the neighborhood,” Hoffman stated.

Wedegartner stated the nonprofit’s partnership with the city will hopefully strengthen the group’s grant application to the EPA. She stated she “fully supports” the group’s interest in looking for the grant.

“As extended as there is time and space in Jennifer Hoffman’s schedule, we’re hoping to companion with them,” Wedegartner stated.

Worgaftik stated the application is due in April, with a grant announcement anticipated in October.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.

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