Community Engagement Core

    Margaret Reams (Leader), Jennifer Richmond Bryant, and Jennifer Irving

    Roughly 53 million people in the United States live within 3 miles of a Superfund remediation site. Many different contaminants have been documented at Superfund and hazardous waste remediation sites,  including Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals (EPFRs). The overall goal of the Community Engagement Core (CEC) is to help communities near Superfund sites and other sites where hazardous  waste is managed to reduce exposure and enhance public health and safety.  The CEC and the Louisina State University Superfund Research Program (LSU SRP) are funded through 2024 by a Federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

    The CEC has two major initiatives for the 2020-2024 funding cycle:  the LSU Clean Air Research Engagement for Superfund Communities (LaCARES) and the LSU SRP Environmental Health Literacy Project.


    LaCARES is a community engaged research program where residents of communities near hazardous waste management sites can share their health and environmental observations and obtain data for their community. Community residents will also work with Center researchers to help select locations field samplers to detect and assess exposures to EPFRs and other contaminants based on their observations.

    Environmental Health Literacy

    Environmental health literacy (EHL) involves recognizing that there is a connection between environmental exposures and health outcomes as well as understanding that an individual or a community may take actions to reduce their exposure risks.  As part of the CEC’s EHL project, we will work collaboratively with residents to identify actions they may take that mitigate exposure risks, such as limiting outdoor activities, running air conditioners, and including more antioxidant nutrients in their diets. We will also help residents prepare comments for meetings with regulators so that they may participate more effectively in collective decisions about the handling of hazardous materials in their communities.

    Louisiana Citizen's Guide to Environmental Engagement

    The Community Engagement Core of the LSU Superfund Research Program partners with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) to help enhance the resilience of communities facing a variety of environmental exposure risks. Together, we created the Louisisa Citizen's Guide to Environmental Engagement to help citizens gain a clearer understanding of local environmental issues and steps they may be able to take to make themselves safer. This effort grew out of recommendations from attendees of the 2013 symposium, Response, Recovery and Resilience to Oil Spills and Environmental Disasters,
    sponsored by the Superfund Research Programs at LSU and Oregon State University, and LEAN.

    The first edition of the Citizen's Guide was published in 2016 and can be downloaded or viewed as a pdf: download the Citizen's Guide. LEAN also hosts an updated version of the Citizen's Guide on thier website: In 2022, the CEC worked with LEAN to add information to the Citizen's Guide about EPFRs. This new information can be found in the "Your Air" chapter: Toxic Air Pollutants.