Published: 17.three.2023 16:17:36

GREENFIELD — City officials are partnering with the Lunt Neighborhood Action Group, a nonprofit organization with far more than one hundred members, to apply for a federal grant to fund an epidemiologic study into regardless of whether neighborhood well being troubles are linked to chemical substances at the former Lunt Silversmiths web-site.

A Neighborhood Environmental Justice Grant out there by means of the Environmental Protection Agency would give up to $500,000 more than 3 years, according to resident Susan Vorgaftik, who approached Mayor Rokann Wedegartner and Wellness Director Jennifer Hoffman about the possible partnership. The grant would fund epidemiologic research of possible cancers and other illnesses linked to trichlorethylene, or TCE, a chemical of concern at the Federal Street house. TCE is a synthetic solvent that can lead to adverse well being effects which includes cancer, developmental and neurological effects, and liver toxicity, according to the EPA.

“We’ve been knocking on doors to get persons to answer,” mentioned Vorgaftik, who lives in the neighborhood. “In the course of action, we found that there is a neighbor of mine who has the very same lymphoma as me, and she lives ten homes away. It is a lymphoma that could have been triggered by TCE. We have also heard of a number of persons who have had Parkinson’s illness in the region, which is also a illness that can be triggered by TCE. … We wanted to obtain out if there was a difficulty.”

The topic house on Federal St. 298 — which the city leases at 401 Liberty St. to a restricted liability enterprise that in turn has an active sublease with Behavioral Wellness Network and Clinical & Help Possibilities — has an agreement that provides the enterprise the alternative to obtain. Wedegartner previously explained that the city took the house for back taxes shortly just before 2015. Till 2009, when the enterprise closed, the web-site housed a maker of sterling silver spoons, forks, mugs and other things.

Issues about the state of environmental cleanup at the web-site have been raised late final year when the house was brought just before City Council to be declared surplus and authorized for sale by the mayor.

“[With the research]we can educate persons about what they need to have to do to get tested and verify their status,” Vorgaftik mentioned.

Vorgaftik mentioned there are statistical techniques to ascertain causation, as properly as study and discussion strategies, which is specifically why the nonprofit Lunt Neighborhood Action Group is interested in bringing in specialists.

“We’re just a neighborhood organization,” she mentioned. “I have no scientific coaching.” We’re asking scientists to inform us what we ought to do.”

Hoffman — who noted that the grant application comes with assistance from Wedegartner, Franklin County Wellness Center and Valley Healthcare Group — mentioned a graduate student functioning with the Division of Wellness could assist with study and information collection. The division also functions with an epidemiologist.

“Appropriate now we’re consolidating our scope of practice about the concerns we’re asking the neighborhood,” Hoffman mentioned.

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

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

Vorgaftik mentioned that the application ought to be in April, and that the announcement of the grant is anticipated in October.

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

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