Coordinator: Carolyn Bell
Many low-income communities and people of color suffer
a disproportionate burden of environmental hazards and the various
health problems associated with poor quality air, water and toxic
exposure. Often, these communities are also victims of environmental
racism and the discriminatory enforcement of environmental laws
and regulations, resulting in high rates of disease, birth defects
and sometimes early death.
CBTU is part of the growing environmental justice
movement that empowers community-based organizations to identify
harmful or discriminatory conditions, mobilize their constituencies,
and resolve local environmental health problems. In 1998, CBTU initiated
an environmental action strategy. Several CBTU chapters have formed
Community Action and Response Against Toxics (CARAT) teams,
which along with other safety and environmental allies
help to educate and monitor issues such as illegal waste dumping
and hauling in poor communities.
The CARAT Team Program is hugely popular with
- A national CARAT Team training program has been
- CBTU members can receive Emergency Response training,
Train-the Trainer instruction, and Advanced Technical Skills training.
- Community toxics conferences have been held in
several cities to raise awareness.
- The national CARAT Toxic Awareness &
Training Conference draws overflow attendance at the CBTU annual
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE C.A.R.A.T TEAM
Who makes up CARAT Teams?
The teams are comprised of trade unionists, affected
residents, environmental justice advocates, legislators, community
leaders, scientists, and other persons interested in a collective
environmental health protection effort.
What do CARAT Teams do?
- Organize grassroots community rallies, marches,
- Serve as liaison between community-based minority
groups and environmental advocacy organizations and agencies.
- Assess the needs of the community and help propose
- Refer environmental health issues to the appropriate
- Register CARAT teams in public libraries and other
- Provide environmental hazard information to public
libraries and community-based organizations.
- Meet regularly and submit activity reports to the
How do CARAT Teams work with other environmental
CARAT Teams do not replace existing environmental
justice activities.These teams collaborate with existing grassroots
efforts to help coordinate and empower community-based organizations
to raise awareness, mobilize their constituencies, and resolve environmental
How can I form a CARAT Team in my city?
- Contact your local CBTU chapter president
- Host a CARAT Team organizing meeting with potential
- Develop operational guidelines for your chapterís
- Establish and prioritize local environmental health
- Form a liaison with the local Emergency Planning
- Develop strategies to raise community awareness
and support for your issues
- Identify educational institutions to serve as resources
for research and education
Which CBTU chapters currently host CARAT
- Northern California
- North Central New Jersey
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Jackson, Mississippi
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Detroit, Michigan
- Memphis, Tennessee
- St. Louis, Missouri
Women's Committee | Youth
Committee | Retiree Committee
Committee | Environmental