Resource Library

A large part of what we do here at CHEJ is pool our knowledge to create resources to help communities fight back against polluters. Our publications cover a wide variety of issues, from general education on common environmental health issues to guides on how to lead a movement. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions about any of our publications.

Achieving the Impossible

This collection of heart-warming, humorous and inspiring short stories illustrates how people have stepped forward to meet the challenges facing their communities and celebrates their willingness to engage in our democracy. “Achieving the Impossible” is about ordinary people that create extraordinary change in their communities. By any standard, these people are heroes, in the fullest sense of the word.

America’s Choice: Children’s Health or Corporate Profit

This Technical Support Document (TSD) is the third and final section of America’s Choice: Children’s Health or Corporate Profit – The American People’s Dioxin Report (1999). This Technical Support Document provides the scientific basis and support for the conclusions and recommendations made in the previous report. This document describes where dioxin comes from, how it moves through the environment and gets into our food, how it builds up in our bodies, and how it is affects our health and our children. Particular emphasis is given to how dioxin affects the immune, reproductive, and developmental systems of the human body and how it causes cancer. This Technical Support Document provides the reader with a scientific discussion and analysis of the latest research on dioxin, including extensive references and an overall characterization of the risk of dioxin to public health.

Asphalt Plants

This fact pack covers asphalt production, fumes, community action against asphalt plants, their health impacts, and news items relevant to asphalt plants at the time of production.

Asthma: Breathtaking Facts

This fact pack includes the following information: (1) an overview of asthma; (2) discussions on how to control and prevent asthma; (3) asthma’s relationship to environmental health issues; (4) asthma in children and in schools; and (5) asthma in the workplace.

Beyond Bake Sales & Car Washes: How to Raise Money for Your Group

In this guidebook, you’ll learn to: set a fundraising goal based on real, budgeted expenses; create a diversified funding base not dependent on any few, large donations; build the relationships necessary to securing generous contributions; overcome the main fear factors of fundraising; successfully ask individuals for gifts; choose a fundraising event that’s right for your group; plan and execute a successful fundraising event; earn in-kind contributions from individuals and companies alike; determine whether or not incorporation is right for your group; and, apply for grants and government money, if you choose to incorporate.

Building Safe Schools: Invisible Threats, Visible Actions

This report is the third report in the “Invisible Threats, Visible Actions” series. CHEJ and CPOC updated Creating Safe Learning Zones for this report to include a state-by-state analysis and summary of rules and regulations that apply to school siting decisions. We also further refined the model school siting guidelines to include guidance for school districts that have no available options other than to build a school on a highly contaminated site. We also provide guidance to evaluate and remediate contaminated land to the most protective standards possible.

Burning Rubber: Tire Incineration

This fact pack on tire incineration is in response to numerous requests for information that we have had on this topic. This fact pack includes three types of information: (1) selections from technical papers and statistics describing of tire-derived fuel (TDF); (2) reports and articles from community organizations that express their concerns and actions they have taken to stop tire incineration; and, (3) news clips describing community struggles to address problems posed by tire incineration

Cancer Clusters

This fact pack provides and overview on identifying, tracking, and tackling cancer clusters.

Cellular Phone Towers

This fact pack includes three types of information: (1) selections from issue papers describing the debate around public health, legislation, and regulations of cell phone towers; (2) most recent health studies at the time of publishing and exposure issues of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted from cellular towers and mobile phones. It also includes a section on cell phones featuring problems relating to health and disposal.

Cement Kiln Fact Pack

A fact pack about how industry is using kilns to burn hazardous waste, a deceptive practice called “sham recycling”. This fact pack includes four types of information: business practices reports, health effects, governmental regulations, and community actions.

CHEJ’s Guide to PVC-Free School Office Supplies and Building Materials

This guide was created to empower your K-12 school or college/university to make smarter, healthier purchasing and building choices for a toxic-free future. This lists the most common school supplies and building materials made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) plastic and suggests where to find safer PVC-free alternatives.

Common Questions About Health Effects Fact Pack

This guidebook contains answers to questions frequently asked by people who feel that they should be the ones deciding whether to be hysterical about potential health effects related to pollution in their environment.

Community Organizing Wins: Major Air Toxics Reduction

This guide is meant to help groups on the journey to attaining clean and safe air in their community. The goal is to help community groups learn the lessons of a successful grassroots organizing effort that led to a major reduction in toxic air pollution.

Deep Well Injection

60% of U.S. toxic waste is pumped in to wells where it is then free to contaminate drinking water and enter the food chain. As incinerators are closed, deepwell injection may become the next threat to your community. This guidebook explains deepwell injection and outlines strategies to use if you discover your community contains injection wells.

Dioxin Breakfast Ad

This is an informative ad detailing the presence of dioxins in a regular breakfast meal.

Dioxin Levels in Food

This is a brief analysis on the exposure of dioxins in food amongst children compared to adults.

Dying from Dioxin: A Citizen’s Guide to Reclaiming Our Health and Rebuilding Democracy

In Dying from Dioxin, CHEJ describes the alarming details of the public health crisis caused by dioxin and explains how citizens can organize to prevent this threat. The first half of the book explains the science of how exposures to dioxin, even doses 100 times lower than those associated with cancer, can cause infertility, hormonal imbalances, and immune system dysfunction. The second half is a guide to help citizens form coalitions and organize to stop dioxin exposure.

Empowering Ourselves: Women and Organizing

This guidebook reflects the collective work of a group of 43 women who attended a conference held in Arlington, VA in 1987. Although some of this information is out-of-date, we feel strongly that the issues raised in this guidebook are still important and that it provides a useful resource still relevant to women in organizing today.

Environmental Justice & the PVC Chemical Industry

This report discusses how PVC plants are disproportionately located in low-income communities and communities of color, making the production of PVC an issue of environmental justice and racism for neighboring residents. PVC manufacturing facilities have poisoned workers and fence line neighbors, polluted the air, contaminated drinking water supplies, and even wiped entire communities off the map.

Environmental Testing

You may think you are facing an environmental health threat and want the area around your home tested, but not know what you need, where to look, or what to look for. This newly revised handbook tells you where to start. Learn how to get proper testing of your water, soil, air and more.

Facility Siting Questions

This booklet contains questions and concerns you should raise about any hazardous waste facility, either proposed or existing, including landfills, deep well injections, site surface impoundments, incinerators and resource recovery facilities.

Fight to Win: A Leader’s Manual

This handbook is for leaders who want to start or strengthen organizations addressing environmental and/or health issues. The first section describes organizing methods applied to environmental issues, while other sections will cover aspects of environmental contamination, including health, scientific, and legal topics that you will need to think about.

Guía para Ubicación Escolar Segura

CHEJ creó la Guía para Ubicación Escolar Segura para proveer a comunidades necesitadas las herramientas necesarias para proteger la salud de sus hijos atreves de él organizarse para la aprobación de pólizas de ubicación escolar prudentes. Esta guía está basada en las lecciones que hemos aprendido en los pasados 28 años trabajando con comunidades para luchar contra instalaciones que contaminan, crear relaciones con funcionarios electos, y realizar campañas exitosas – al nivel local, regional y nacional – contra la exposición a substancias toxicas y químicas.

How Clean is clean?

On September 21, 1985, CHEJ convened a meeting in Arlington, Virginia to discuss how much cleanup is necessary at toxic waste sites. The meeting was called because of the confusion, controversy and difficulty in deciding amongst various interest groups how to determine an acceptable cleanup level. This paper is a summary of that meeting and the issues discussed. It also reflects the concerns raised by participants and provides a basis for further discussion.

How to Deal With a Proposed Facility

The purpose of this manual is to distill the experiences of grassroots environmental justice groups served by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice since 1981. This guidebook is a step-by-step formula for how you can organize your neighbors to block proposed facilities, also called LULUs (“Locally Undesirable Land Use’s”) by government regulators.

How to Deal With Trouble

This guidebook addresses four different kinds of “trouble” that CHEJ members have raised as concerns, such as legal trouble, political trouble, physical intimidation, and internal trouble. It also explores ways to overcome this trouble and use it as an advantage.

How to Win at Public Hearings

The purpose of this publication is to help you make public hearings work for you instead of against you, and to help you use public hearings as part of a winning grassroots organizing strategy.

Landfills: Trashing the Earth

The purpose of this guidebook is to serve as a resource for people opposing a new landfill or landfill expansion. It provides and overview of landfill design, regulations, and the reasons that landfills are inherently flawed. We have included information to assist you in organizing your community to fight the landfill, and some alternatives to our current waste management system.

Legal Advice for Community Leaders

The idea behind this booklet is to explain in simple terms common legal problems which crop up in hazardous waste lawsuits, or in government enforcement of hazardous waste laws and regulations.

Local Ordinances

This fact pack includes three types of information: (1) how local ordinance can help empower your community; (2) a list of ordinances available through CHEJ; and (3) examples of ordinances used by communities.

Love Canal Chronology

This fact pack provides a short overview of the events that occurred at Love Canal that led to the evacuation of more than 900 families in 1978 and 1980.

Love Canal Fact Pack

This is an abbreviated version of the Love Canal tragedy written by the leaders of the Love Canal Homeowners Association. It gives a brief history of Love Canal, goes through a summary of key events, discusses health studies conducted at the site, and gives a biography of Lois Gibbs.

Love Canal Guidebook

This fact pack provides a short overview of the events that occurred at Love Canal that led to the evacuation of more than 900 families in 1978 and 1980.

Love Canal: The Story Continues

The young housewife who organized the residents of the Love Canal neighborhood to publicize their plight and protest to state and federal officials updates the struggle to persuade government officials to act. This updated version includes an additional Prologue and Afterword which bring events up to 1998, the anniversary of the Love Canal disaster, and with a Foreword by Ralph Nader. Contact CHEJ for a physical copy of this book

Poisoned Schools: Invisible Threats, Visible Actions

This report is a joint effort of member organizations of the Child Proofing Our Communities: Poisoned School Campaign, a locally based, nationally connected campaign to protect children from exposure to environmental health hazards in our schools, homes, and communities.

Power Lines Fact Pack

A fact pack about the health effects of living in contact with power lines and resources for fighting their presence within communities. This fact pack includes four types of information: definitions on electric/magnetic field radiation, their health effects, studies and policies, and community action.

Property Values Fact Pack

This fact pack is full of information on the effects waste sites have on property values. We have included materials from nonprofit organizations, newspapers, journals and the internet in an effort to provide a thorough introduction to the issues surrounding property values and contaminated land. We intend for this fact pack to be a tool to assist you in educating yourself and others.

PVC Policies Across the World

This report highlights some of the many PVC-free policies and included links to in-depth resources on PVC-free governmental and corporate policies around the world.

PVC-Free School Supplies

This is a back-to-school wallet guide for PVC-Free School Supplies designed to empower you in making smarter, healthier shopping choices for your children.

PVC: The Poison Plastic, Health Hazards, and the Looming Waste Crisis

This report provides the facts and a plan of action for one of the most important changes society can make to protect the public’s health and the environment against PVC exposure. PVC is a poison plastic that has earned the title after decades of harming our health and environment. PVC’s destructive toxic life begins with manufacturing, continues during product use, and then creates devastating pollution problems when it is disposed.

Relocation: Getting Organized and Getting Out (Go Go)

The purpose of this guidebook is to show you how to win relocation for your community. It is intended to help community groups think through what they want. It helps leaders learn from other communities what obstacles they faced in their efforts and offers suggestions to overcome these obstacles.

Running for Public Office

This booklet is to educate our members and other interested parties who are seeking or considering running for public office.

Safe School Siting Toolkit

This toolkit is to provide communities with the tools necessary for protecting their children’s health by organizing for the passage of safe school siting policies. This toolkit is based on the lessons we have learned over the past 28 years of working with communities to fight back polluting facilities, build relationships with elected officials, and run successful local, regional, and national campaigns to end toxic chemical exposure.

Safety Plans: What You Need to Know

Communities are often faced with “plans” to clean up and monitor hazardous waste sites, spill and other forms of environmental contamination. Eventually, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the state and the responsible parties come to agreement on how they are going to cleanup a contaminated site. You might not like their plan, but you want to make sure you have a say in how the plan is executed. This guidebook is meant to help you get the most out of this process.

Science Issues for Community Leaders

This guidebook is meant to explain in simple terms common scientific issues and concepts that often come up in discussing the impacts of exposure to toxic chemicals.

Should Your Group Incorporate?

This guide is intended to raise the most important questions and address key issues on whether or not your group will need to incorporate during your environmental efforts.

Solutions to Remove School Lights Containing PCBs

This fact sheet provides information on how your school can effectively remove the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBS) light ballasts and replace them with energy efficient lights that provide real cost savings.

Songs Not Speeches: Lyrics to Live By

In the history of people struggling for justice, music has always played a key role. In fact, there’s hardly been a successful movement for social justice that didn’t prominently feature music. How does music fit into the fight for justice? People have historically used music to: lift their spirits; tell their story; celebrate; mourn; poke fun at their opponents; teach others; keep their traditions alive; and pray. So, too, we see these roles for music in the Grassroots Environmental Health Movement. And, we’re pleased to present this Songbook as the evidence that the people in this movement like those in movements that have come before us, have instinctively felt and used the power of music.

Standing Our Ground: Communities Organizing to Stop Dioxin Exposure

This is a book about the American people and the communities they live in. Its stories come from urban apartment dwellers in Newark, New Jersey, farmers in Quincy, Washington, school teachers in Pensacola, Florida and from Lois Gibb’s experience as a housewife in the Love Canal community, near Niagara Falls, New York. What connects Gibb’s life to the lives of all the people and communities in this book is their common exposure to the chemical dioxin.

Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation – SLAPP

In this fact pack you will learn about Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP); anti-SLAPP legislation; people who were successful in fighting a SLAPP; current SLAPP news; and organizations that also share your cause.

Superfund: 35th Anniversary Report

In recognition of Superfund’s 35th Anniversary, this report examines the decline in Superfund’s financial stability and urges the reinstatement of “polluter pays fees” to fund site cleanups. It also examines federal legislative efforts, the management of the Superfund program, and the impact of EPA’s Superfund Alternative Approach on community involvement during cleanup decisions and efforts.

Superfund: In the Eye of the Storm

This report emphasizes the need to reinstate the polluter pays fee within Superfund or else these dangerous sites will continue to worsen natural disaster sites with their leaked pollution.

Superfund: Polluters Pay So Children Can Play

In this report, we evaluate the Trump administration’s work on the Superfund program and his efforts to return Superfund cleanups “to their rightful place at the center of EPA’s core mission” in order to “protect the health of our citizens and the environment in which we all live.” We focus specifically on the work done by the EPA’s Superfund Task Force over the past two years.

Target – USA Today Ad

This is an informative ad holding Target accountable for PVC exposure among children from its plastic toys.

The ABCs of Healthy Schools

This report is a joint effort of member organizations of the Child Proofing Our Communities campaign’s Healthy Buildings Committee. Child Proofing Our Communities is a locally-based, nationally-connected campaign formed to protect children from exposures to environmental health hazards in or near public schools.

The American People’s Dioxin Report

This report provides a summary of new scientific research (at the time of publication) on the toxic effects caused by or associated with exposure to dioxin. The information in this report is drawn from a comprehensive assessment of the sources, fate, and health effects of dioxin contained in the Technical Support Document (TSD) to this report. This report is intended to inform the public and their representatives in government so appropriate action can be taken to safeguard the health of the American people. The scientific findings of this report make it clear that there is an extensive body of high quality scientific information describing the toxic effects of dioxin in people. This data indicates that dioxin is a potent chemical that produces a wide variety of toxic effects in animals and that some of these effects are occurring in people.

The Economic Benefits of Safe School Siting (2012)

This report provides examples of situations where schools across the nation have made efforts to save money during the school siting process. In the end, the inspection, cleanup, and relocation costs are unexpectedly high and the profit they hoped for is actually fiscally disadvantageous.

Understanding Superfund

Superfund is the common name given to a law passed by the United States Congress in 1980. Also known as CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act), Superfund gives the federal government authority and funding to clean up the nation’s most dangerous abandoned hazardous waste sites.

User’s Guide to Experts

This guide provides a step-by-step plan for those considering seeking help from experts in their environmental efforts.

User’s Guide to Lawyers

This guide provides a step-by-step plan for those considering seeking legal help in their environmental efforts. (Note: This is a book written by non-lawyers for non-lawyers about how to deal with lawyers).

Using Your Right to Know

This manual explains the Emergency Planning and Community Right to-Know Act (EPCRA) law of SARA, its limitations, its strengths, and its weaknesses, while also defining what data industry is or isn’t required to make available to the public. Ultimately, it shows how information generated by the Right-to-Know law can protect families and communities while holding an industry more accountable for polluting.

Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain’s Chemical Smell

This report summarizes the results of a two-part laboratory study of the toxic chemicals contained in and released from PVC shower curtains. The first part of this study measures the concentration of chlorine, phthalates, organotins, and metals in five PVC shower curtains and VOCs in one curtain purchased at popular retailers. The second part measures the concentrations of VOCs evaporating from a shower curtain in a test chamber over a 28-day period.

Waste Transfer Stations

This fact pack includes three types of information: (1) selections from articles and papers describing the operations and design of Waste Transfer Stations; (2) selections from articles and summaries on how placements of these waste stations are an environmental justice issue; and (3) community organizations and programs in place to address the overwhelming volume of trash that typically goes into a waste transfer station. It also includes news clips describing community struggles to address problems posed by waste transfer stations.

Way Off Target: A Critical Assessment of Target’s PVC Products & Packaging

This report analyzes Target’s sale of products containing PVC by focusing on three key areas: baby / children’s products and toys, shower curtains, and packaging. These three areas were selected because Target sells many of these products that are made out of PVC. Target customers may be exposed to highly toxic chemicals from using these products in their homes.

What is Dioxin?

This fact sheet explains what dioxins are and how they affect our health.

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