U’s MnTAP Partners with North Minneapolis Businesses to Reduce Air Emissions

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) is partnering with North Minneapolis businesses and other community partners to reduce air emissions which can cause health problems for workers and area residents.

MnTAP, an outreach and technical assistance programhoused at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, is teaming up with UMN’s Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), located in North Minneapolis to help local businesses adopt less toxic, lower-emission degreasing solvents which are commonly used to remove contaminants from machinery and automotive parts.

Poor air quality triggers a wide-range of health issues from itchy throats to asthma attacks. Through its experience with vehicle maintenance, industrial maintenance and small-scale product cleaning and degreasing operations, MnTAP is uniquely qualified to help businesses decrease the presence of harmful substances in the air.  

“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,” Laura Babcock, MnTAP Director said.

MnTAP will help facilities screen and eliminate aerosol products as well as high hazard bulk liquid degreasing products, while identifying less hazardous alternative products, such as water based solvents, suitable for their process. MnTAP will work with at least 10 businesses to support adoption of safer alternatives through technical assistance and free product samples. Part of the project will be to assess factors that influence the adoption of safer alternatives and report its findings to the community.

UROC will help MnTAP find and connect with local businesses in North Minneapolis who can benefit from this project. “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 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.”

This project is being 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,” Mark Snyder, MPCA Pollution Prevention Coordinator said. The project is slated to begin early fall.

North Minneapolis businesses interested in participating in the project may contact Jane Paulsen at MnTAP at (612) 624-1826 or janep2@umn.edu.

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About MnTAP
MnTAP is an outreach and assistance program located at the University of Minnesota that helps Minnesota businesses develop and implement industry-tailored solutions that prevent pollution at the source, maximize efficient use of resources, and reduce energy use and costs to improve public health and the environment. For more information, visit:www.mntap.umn.edu.

About UROC
Located in North Minneapolis, the Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) links the University of Minnesota in vital public partnership with urban communities to advance learning, improve quality of life, and discover breakthrough solutions to critical problems. Since opening its doors in 2009, UROC has worked to build thriving, innovative, and respectful collaborations, create new models of urban and community development, and strengthen the University as a vitally engaged 21st-century university serving the public good.