Sessions and Speaker Bios


Welcome, Michael J. Ellenbecker, Sc.D., CIH
Michael is the Director of TURI. He is an expert in toxics use reduction and industrial hygiene. Dr. Ellenbecker is co-author of Ventilation for Control of the Work Environment, the standard textbook for the design of industrial exhaust systems.  His current research focuses on the safe use of nanomaterials in the workplace.  He is also a Professor in the Department of Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, teaching industrial hygiene and cleaner production.

Keynote Speaker and Honored Guest, Ted Schettler, MD, MPH
Dr. Ted Schettler is the Science Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network. He has a medical degree from Case Western Reserve University and a master’s in public health from Harvard University. He also serves as science director of the Collaborative on Health and Environment and science advisor for the Health Care Without Harm campaign. He is co-author of the recently published Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, co-author of In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development (GBPSR 2000), and co-author of Generations at Risk: Reproductive Health and the Environment (MIT Press 1999). Ted will be speaking about toxic chemicals and their potential impacts on human health throughout the lifespan.


1. Transitioning Lawns and Athletic Turf - Success Stories from the Field

Surveys of homeowners and landscape professionals show that many would embrace and practice natural lawn care if they “only knew how to do it.” Transitioning chemically laden lawns to a natural system is about more than just using organic products. It includes understanding soil health and implementing sound preventative practices. This systems approach, employed by Chip Osborne, is responsible for the successful transition of lawns and athletic fields across the country. Chip will share his experience educating citizens and officials throughout the country, starting with the pilot Living Lawn in Marblehead. The successful efforts in Marblehead spawned many efforts across Massachusetts. You will hear the story of Wellesley’s successful education efforts and policy work.

Chip Osborne, Osborne Organics
Chip is a professional horticulturist with thirty-five years experience, and is the founder of Osborne Organics, a company that provides natural turf consulting services to business, municipal, and institutional clients. He has developed A Systems Approach to Natural Turf Management™ as a method of maintaining turf without the use of toxic chemicals. With Pat Becket, he co-founded the Marblehead Pesticide Awareness Committee, for whom he received two years of funding from TURI, in 2001, to develop the Living Lawn pilot site and educational program. As a member of the Town of Marblehead Recreation and Park Commission, he responded to a 2001 Board of Health mandate to eliminate the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers by transitioning Marblehead’s parks and athletic fields to organic landscaping.

Sarah Little
Sarah has a B.S. in Physics from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in Marine Geophysics from the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Joint Program. As the Wellesley Health Department’s Pesticide Awareness Coordinator for five years, she conducted local and regional pesticide awareness campaigns funded by TURI and DEP, and wrote the Pesticide Reduction Resource Guide for Citizens and Municipalities. On her watch, Wellesley passed a policy prohibiting the use of pesticides on all school and parklands. Her work with the Northeast Organic Farming Association includes producing the NOFA Organic Lawn and Turf Handbook, and co-editing the NOFA Organic Land Care Standards for the Design and Maintenance of Ecological Landscapes, 5th edition. She is currently writing a homeowner’s guide to organic lawn and yard care.

2. Reducing Toxics in Small Businesses Part 1: Auto Body Shops and Nail Salons
Workers in nail salons and auto body shops use and are exposed to a number of hazardous chemicals, including solvents. The Boston Public Health Commission’s Safe Shops Project originally partnered with auto repair and body shops, community groups, health centers, and City agencies to promote pollution prevention and address health disparities in communities that are overburdened with toxic chemical exposure. In 2007, The Project’s scope grew to address nail salons, creating the Safe Nail Salon Project. BPHC provides both auto shops and nail salons with environmental and workplace safety trainings, health care referrals and technical assistance. Come and learn about unique educational strategies, lessons, and resources, such as the Safe Shops Toolkit, for working with small businesses in your community.

Paul Shoemaker, Boston Public Health Commission
Paul is the Associate Director of the Environmental Health Division of the Boston Public Health Commission. Paul developed and oversees the Boston Safe Shops Project, which provides education and technical assistance to owners and workers in small auto shops and nail salons throughout the city. The Safe Shops Project conducts training on pollution prevention and worker protection through alternative products, best work practices, proper personal protective equipment, and access to resources. He also works with city, state, and federal agencies on climate change. He received his undergraduate education at The Johns Hopkins University, and his Masters of Public Health from George Washington University. 

Al Milton, Owner of Forest Hill Auto
Al is the Service Manager of Forest Hills Auto Service, an independent automotive repair shop providing repairs and service for both foreign and domestic vehicles.  The shop is located at 235 Hyde Park Avenue in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. In late 2010, Al enrolled the shop as a participant in a TURI-funded toxics substitution program run by the Boston Public Health Commission. The shop successfully replaced their solvent-based aerosol brake cleaner with a water-based alternative.Tiffany Skogstrom, Boston Public Health Commission

Tiffany Skogstrom, Boston Public Health Commission
Tiffany Skogstrom has been the Project Coordinator at the Boston Public Health Commission’s Safe Shops Project since its inception in 2005.  As Coordinator, she develops pollution prevention interventions and trainings that meet nail salon and auto shop business needs. Throughout her career, Tiffany has worked with Massachusetts Jobs with Justice in the call for universal health care as well as organized toxics campaigns for Health Care Without Harm. Previously, she worked with Clean Water Action on solid waste and anti-incineration campaigns, and was a MassPIRG Campus Organizer at Northern Essex Community College. She is currently concentrating in Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health.

Tri Vo, Owner of Jupiter Beauty Academy and NailMart in Dorchester

3. Greening Cleaning and Disinfection in Hospitals, Schools and Municipal Buildings: A Nuts & Bolts Approach
The cleaners and disinfectants used in institutional buildings have an impact on indoor air quality and the health of workers and occupants. The prevalence of validated green cleaners and model programs makes adoption of green cleaning easier than ever. Lynn Rose, an expert in green cleaning and disinfection, has worked diligently to create a green housekeeping plan for schools and municipal buildings. You will learn a system for assessing existing products, identifying needs, setting priorities, selecting vendors and equipment, and working with unions and administration. Additionally, you will learn how TURI’s Lab is partnering with the Clinical Science lab at UML to evaluate safer disinfectants, and about the TURI Lab’s experience working with the Veterans Administration Hospital to evaluate bio-based cleaning products.

Katie Tenaglia, University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) Student
Katie is currently a senior in the Community Health and Sustainability program, and has been accepted into the UML Work Environment Epidemiology Masters degree program. She has worked in the TURI Lab for the past year as an intern, where she assesses and evaluates safer disinfection products and procedures, alternative cleaning chemicals, and cleaning services. In addition, she has worked for the Barnstable County Health Department as a Health Inspector during the summers, and has been responsible for independent inspection of restaurants, public pools, and other facilities related to public health concerns.

Tim Weil, TURI Lab Technician

Tim is responsible for training, organization, project preparation and maintenance, and supervision of student work at the TURI Lab. He develops testing methodologies for new equipment and products in accordance to recognized standards, evaluates client Materials Safety Data Sheets for product hazards, and makes recommendations as requested by clients. He holds a M.S. in Occupational Safety Management-Fire Science from University of Central Missouri, a B.S. in Industrial Technology/ Manufacturing Management from Moberly Area Community College, and is a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Training Grant recipient.

Lynn Rose, Consultant

Lynn has been working on Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) for the school, municipal, and state agency sectors for 17 years, focusing on cleaning for health and infection control. She conducted EPA’s first pilot project on reducing asthmagens in school cleaning products, and created guidance documents for development and implementation of green housekeeping programs. These have included one for the MA Operational Division on TUR in Schools Using the MA Statewide EPP Contracts, and one for the MA Facilities Administrators Association on Cleaning for Health and Infection Control in Schools. She recently co-authored the Cleaning for Healthier Schools: Infection Control Handbook and developed training for school nurses on green infection control that will be available nationally through Northeastern University.

Heidi Wilcox, TURI Laboratory Technician/Field Specialist
Heidi is the field specialist at the TURI lab and works integrating lab work with field work in different types of facilities. Currently her work focus is on the sectors using the MA designated high hazard substances TCE and PCE as well as the Green Cleaning Industry. She earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Microbiology from UMASS Amherst and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies and Atmospheric Studies from UMass Lowell. Currently, she is a Doctoral student in the Department of Work Environment in Cleaner Production.

Grant Opportunities Panel

Stacey Johnson-Pridgeon, Urban Environmental Program (UEP) and Regional CARE Coordinator, EPA Region I
Stacey oversees and supports the work of the UEP Team to improve the quality of life and public health for urban residents across Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. She is responsible for the overall development and implementation of the UEP in target communities, and assists community representatives in project scoping efforts.  She is responsible for assessment of environmental problems, partnership development, and leveraging external resources. She is also the Community Action for Renewed Environments (CARE) Grant Program Coordinator, and is involved in EPA’s Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice Grant Programs.

Joy Onasch, TURI Community Program Manager

Joy oversees the community program at TURI. She manages the Community Grants Program, which awards funds to community or municipal organizations striving to reduce or eliminate toxics. Focus areas currently include reducing or eliminating toxics in the home (including cleaning and building materials), pesticide use, perchloroethylene in dry cleaning, the cosmetology industry, and auto shops. She is an engineer with over ten years of experience with industry, government, and institutions, assisting them with compliance issues and pollution prevention projects. Joy earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Union College and a Master's in Engineering and Policy from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a registered Professional Engineer in three states.

4. Promoting Green from Within: Municipal Models in Green Policy, Purchasing and Practices

Municipalities have tremendous opportunities to reduce toxics use and model practices for their citizens. In this session you will hear about several proactive efforts of municipal officials to make their communities safer. The City of Somerville launched a public education effort to bring practical information on green building to their businesses, residents and local government officials and has now broadened the city’s sustainability efforts. Newton will share their experience implementing integrated pest management in 22 of its schools.  You will also hear about the Swampscott Board of Health’s work to implement a turf management policy and their efforts to ensure safe and effective mosquito control operations.

Vithal Deshponde, Environmental Coordinator for the City of Somerville
Vithal has been instrumental over the last fifteen years in developing sustainability strategies, programs, policies, climate protection plans, and pollution prevention systems in the public and business sectors. He has developed and implemented modules for public education and has advised policy makers, social entrepreneurs, businesses, and non-profits. In the past, he collaborated with local community organizations and developed the Green Building educational project focusing on toxics use reduction in building material. He also developed an alternative dying process for Malden Mills. Both of these projects were funded by TURI. He has an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Northeastern University.

Martha Dansdill, Swampscott Board of Health

Martha serves on the Swampscott Board of Health. For over ten years, she has been instrumental in promoting discussion and crafting policy to reduce town-wide pesticide use. She has focused on reducing the Town’s use of pesticides on its land and on ensuring the safest and most effective mosquito control methods. She is also the Executive Director of HealthLink, a Massachusetts citizens group working to protect and improve public health by reducing environmental toxins and pollutants through research, education, and community action.

Paul Anastasia, Newton Facilities Operation Manager, Newton Public Schools

Paul has a degree in building construction technology from Wentworth Institute, is licensed by the state of Massachusetts as a construction supervisor, and is a Certified Building Operator. In Newton, he is responsible for supervising the custodial and maintenance operations of 22 school buildings, including a workforce of 85 custodians, an inter-city maintenance crew of 17 craftsmen, and several maintenance contractors. He is the past president of Massachusetts Facilities Administrators Association (M.F.A.A.).  In 2006, on behalf of M.F.A.A. he received a grant from the EPA to produce nine modules for training facilities managers in Environmental Health and Safety issues. The modules earned the Environmental Merit Award in 2008. Paul and M.F.A.A. have worked to form a western chapter of M.F.A.A.

Eileen Gunn, Principal, Sage Environmental Solutions
Eileen has worked as a program manager and campaign director on a wide variety of environmental and public health issues for over twenty years, focusing on toxics. In 2007, she started her own consulting and subcontracting business, Sage Environmental Solutions, which provides education and training, project management, strategic planning, policy, and research services. She worked for seven years as the Community Program Manager at TURI, providing technical and project support on toxics use reduction efforts to community organizations and municipalities. She also managed national advocacy campaigns for Beyond Pesticides, such as the Alliance for Informed Mosquito Management and the National Pesticide-Free Lawns Coalition. She has a Masters in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University.

5.  Toxics Use Reduction in Small Business Part 2: Drycleaning and Floor Finishing
Growing concern over perchloroethylene (perc), a solvent widely used in dry cleaning, has led to efforts to restrict its use and develop viable alternatives. TURI has been working with the dry cleaning sector for over ten years, with a focus on promoting wet cleaning. You will get an overview of the array of alternatives and hear first hand from a dry cleaner about his experience making the switch. You will also learn about the Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development’s (Viet-AID) Healthy Floor Finishing Project. This multi-year effort focused on finding alternatives, providing education, health and safety training, and developing a consumer marketing campaign. This extensive bi-lingual community outreach model can be used for any sector.
Joy Onasch, TURI Community Program Manager (see above)

Mark Isabelle, Owner, Silver Hanger Cleaners

Mark was born and raised in Massachusetts and graduated from Assumption College in Worcester. After being employed in the restaurant business for fifteen years, he started Silver Hanger Cleaners in Bellingham MA in 1994.  In 2008, he was awarded a grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute to become Massachusetts’ first dedicated wet cleaning operation. As a leading advocate of “green” cleaning, he has hosted local events to describe the many benefits of wet cleaning and to convince other dry cleaners to switch. He also consults with dry cleaners across the country. Silver Hanger Cleaners is currently operating in two locations, Bellingham and Mendon, and offers pickup and delivery in the surrounding towns.

Hoa Mai Nguyen, Director of Programs at Viet-AID
Hoa Mai was the principal on Viet-AID’s two occupational health projects – The Healthy Hardwood Floor Finishers and the Safe Nail Salon Projects. She was responsible for program design and evaluation, supporting coalition building, liaising with immigrant’s workers and suppliers, and coordinating with city and state officials.  Her experience spans over ten years working with the Vietnamese immigrant and refugee population in English-language development, job training, research, health education, social justice, and advocacy. She is currently taking new responsibilities in Viet-AID’s Youth and Family Program, and is an adjunct faculty member at Bunker Hill Community College.

6. Greening Household Cleaning for Professionals and Do-it-Yourselfers
Green cleaning is about using safer products and products that work. The Brazilian Women's Group will share their model of educating Brazilian house cleaners and residents about the hazards of household cleaners and helping them convert to safer alternatives made from simple household ingredients. Their Vida Verde project attracts mainstream media attention and has elevated the issue for a wider audience.  TURI’s Lab is testing and validating safer products for professional residential cleaning services. Come and learn about the results that could transform the professional cleaning industry and bolster your efforts to institutionalize green cleaning.
Ever wonder if those do-it-yourself recipes with common household ingredients really work? The TURI laboratory will provide you with their evaluation and testing results.

Heloisa Maria Galvao, Vida Verde Women’s Cooperative (Brazilian Women’s Group)
Heloisa is a co-founder and the Executive Director of the Brazilian Women’s Group, a grassroots organization founded in 1995. She is a journalist with more than thirty years of experience reporting for Brazilian newspapers. She also freelances for community newspapers in the Boston area. In the past few years, she has published work on women and their struggle as immigrants and on educational and community organizing issues. She is the recipient of several awards, including Community Service Award, The Brazilian Times’ Brazilian Community Heritage Foundation, 2009, 2008 and 2007; Press Community Award 2007, Brazilian International Press Award; and Outstanding New Bostonian Award, Mayor Thomas Menino’s Office, 2004.

Helen Sinzker, Vida Verde Women’s Cooperative (Brazilian Women’s Group)

Helen is a journalist who moved from Paraná, Brazil, to Massachusetts six years ago. In the United States, she worked for the Brazilian local press and as a freelance for O Estado de S. Paulo, a national newspaper in Brazil. She has also been an immigrant worker’s rights advocate since she arrived in this country. Currently, Helen is coordinator with Vida Verde Women’s Cooperative and works at the MetroWest Immigrant Center.

Erica Lopes, Professional Housecleaner, Vida Verde Women’s Cooperative (Brazilian women’s group)
Erica is native of Ipatinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil. She resides in Brighton with her husband and daughter. She has been working as a housecleaner since 2004. Erica has been involved in and is a strong advocate for the Vida Verde Project, which promotes natural cleaning products and methods among Brazilian professional housecleaners.

Jason Marshall, TURI Laboratory Director
Jason directs the services of the TURI Lab, helping companies evaluate the performance of cleaning chemistries and equipment. Recent projects include the evaluation of bio-based products for several janitorial applications in a hospital setting, and efforts to promote adoption of alternatives to trichloroethylene (TCE) for businesses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He holds a Doctorate of Science in Work Environment Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, a Master of Science in Environmental Studies, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.