Simphiwe Laura Stewart

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)
Postgraduate Research Participant
U.S Environmental Protection Agency Region 10

The Community Focused
Exposure and Risk
Screening Tool (C-FERST)
Supporting communities using EPA Science Tools

Regional Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (RESES)
Research Program

•U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA
-Established in 1970 by Executive Order to protect human health and the environment. 10 Regional Offices
including headquarters in Washington, DC employing over 17,000 people. Responsible for writing and enforcing
regulation based on laws passed by congress. Executive Order (E.O.) 12898 – federal actions to address
environmental justice.

•EPA Region 10
-Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

•RESES Research Program
- RESES research program was initiated to further agency partnership between the Office of Research and
Development (ORD), EPA regional offices and communities. It is part of the Sustainable Healthy Communities (SHC)
program and Plan EJ 2020 for advancing environmental justice and work with communities.

•ORISE Research Participation
- December 2013 EPA Region 10 successfully applies for a RESES research program grant to conduct research on
ORD science tools in collaboration with Region 10 communities. In 2014 Region 10 selects an ORISE research
participant to conduct a postgraduate training/research project.

1. Contextualizing RESES

The Community Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool (C-FERST)

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Beta Version (Under Development)

Web Based Environmental Information and GIS Mapping Tool

Currently under development by US EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD)
Region 10 partners: Tacoma, WA and Portland, OR

Environmental and Demographic Data

Functions Include: Step by Step Guidance, Mapping, Potential Risk and Exposure
Reports, Community Data Table, Community Based Solutions

2. Introducing ORD Science Tool
C-FERST

EPA Region 10 RESES Project
• Pre-RESES
Began in December 2013
The initial EPA Region 10 study location: Tacoma, WA. Included a
trial of C-FERST in collaboration with community partners: Evergreen
State College Tacoma Campus, Solutions HCE and Tacoma-Pierce
County Health Department
Using Community values and best available science to identify,
understand and analyze potential exposure and risk in the Tacoma area
of Pierce County
Generating feedback on the tool including technical/data issues, user
interface/accessibility and suggestions for meaningful involvement of
communities

3. EPA Region 10 C-FERST Study
Location 1 (Tacoma, WA)

EPA Region 10 RESES Project
• RESES Project:
-Synthesize feedback from Tacoma and develop “steps moving forward”.
-Use C-FERST tool for community based projects in the Portland Harbor area.
-Replicate community based participatory research model in Portland, OR

4. EPA Region 10 C-FERST Study
Location 2 (Portland, OR)

Conducting Outreach with
Communities in EPA Region
10
Who have we worked with and
what have we accomplished?

Tacoma, WA

Beta Version (Under Development)

Agency staffed interns, resident scientists and other EPA staff worked with community
partners to identify community issues

Community partners used C-FERST with local knowledge to explore concerns related to
infant mortality, low birth weight and environmental health issues

Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus students and faculty conducted a citizen
science project

Evergreen developing a class centered on C-FERST and becoming the ‘trainer’ for the
tool

Beta Testing I

Portland, OR

Beta Version (Under Development)

Beta Version (Under Development)

Beta Version (Under Development)

• Working in collaboration with community-based partners to assess C-FERST in
the Portland area
• Developing community-based participatory research projects

Identifying mutual support structures to implement projects

• Generating use cases and best practice for using decision tools at the local level

Beta Testing II

Lessons Learned from
Community Partnerships in
EPA Region 10
What are we learning and where
are we going?

Feedback in Portland, OR

“. . .Never used a tool like this before but overall I am impressed by the ability of anybody, not just a trained
college grad, to use the program to find meaningful data”
“The Siskiyou Crest is proposed to become a National monument. I want to see if current land use is
crippling the area from an environmental point of view. This (tool) might provide insight into why this area
would benefit from becoming a National Monument”
“If it weren’t for C-FERST I wouldn’t even know that mapping programs like this existed. It was helpful to
show there are links between demographic, location, pollution and illness”
“Id like to use the tool with my partner to decide where to buy property”
“Many overlays on the map make it look ugly. . .”

What we learned. . .

Conclusion
The EPA developed CFERST in response to community needs:
• - Communities, tribes and their respective decision makers need information.
However:
• -There are potential issues, impacts & solutions and not enough experts to evaluate
every local situation
• -Some communities have disproportionate impacts, limited resources and access to
information
• - It is difficult to assess all available info to identify, prioritize, take action on
environmental and community health issues
C-FERST can:
• Provide best science for community assessment
• Promote participation/partnership
• Support community led programs
• Further risk identification, prioritization and cumulative assessments
• Give structure/platform for decision making

Conclusion

Contact:

CFERSTMail@EPA.GOV
This research is supported by an appointment to the Research Participation Program
for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and
Development (ORD) administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and
Education (ORISE) through an interagency agreement between the US Department
of Energy (DOE) and the EPA.

CFERSTMail@EPA.GOV

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