Glossary

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – A group of compounds first widely used in industrial processes. They have been used in sealants, rubber, paints, plastics, printing ink, and insecticides. PCBs have entered the environment mostly as a pollutant from equipment leaks, weathering of materials that contain PCB, and through contact with food products. PCBs have been confirmed to cause cancer, plus a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) – A class of flame retardant chemicals that are used in plastics for TV cabinets, electronics, wire insulation, personal computers, small appliances and children’s pajamas. The chemicals are accumulating in the environment and in human bodies. Fairly recent reports have indicated that exposure to low concentrations of these chemicals may result in severe damage to the nervous and reproductive systems.

Organophosphates (OPs) Chemical substances used as insecticides that interfere with the nervous system.

Flame retardants- A substance used to make an object flameproof.

Superfund- A US federal government program designed to locate, investigate and clean up uncontrolled and abandoned toxic waste sites nationwide.

Service Learning-A method of teaching, learning and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service in the community.

Volunteerism-The use or involvement of volunteer labor, especially in community service

Community-Any group having a common interest, work or social relationship

Social education-The building and sustaining of a caring community through a learning process that is intentional and integrated

Community Service- Work that is voluntary done by individuals or an organization to benefit a community or its institutions

Environmental justice The ability of all people to live and work in a safe and healthy environment.

Environmental health- The branch of public health that strives to understand how interactions with the environment can result in illness and death

Environmental racism- Racism tied to environmental conditions, practices, and decisions that disproportionately increase exposure to toxic chemicals among people of color.