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The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) is the only national environmental organization that was founded and is led by a grassroots leader. Lois Gibbs founded CHEJ after winning the nation's first community relocation of 900 families due to a leaking toxic waste dump in Love Canal, New York. Through this effort she also woke up the nation to recognize the link between people's exposures to dangerous chemicals in the community setting and serious public health impacts.
CHEJ was instrumental in establishing some of the first national policies critical to protecting community health like the Superfund Program, Right-to-Know and others. By pioneering the effort nationwide to protect communities from exposures to dangerous environmental chemicals, in the air, water and soil, CHEJ has become the preeminent national leader among grassroots groups reducing the burden of toxic substances on our environment.
CHEJ is different from other environmental organizations. It was created out of a commitment and passion to work with communities at risk, to empower local families to take steps to protect their neighborhoods and families from unnecessary chemical threats. Through skill training, strategic analysis and scientific research, CHEJ has worked with over ten thousand groups since our founding.
CHEJ's overarching goal has consistently been to prevent harm—particularly among vulnerable populations such as children. If a safer process, material or product exists it should be used. We believe that everyone, regardless of income, race, religion, or occupation, has a right to live, work, learn, play and pray in a healthy community.
CHEJ is a leader in advocating responsible corporate behavior (located in communities and selling products to families) in replacing outdated chemicals with safe, affordable alternatives to build long-term, safe economic opportunities and community benefits. Our twenty years of experience in this arena extends from moving McDonalds away from Styrofoam in 1986 to moving Microsoft away from PVC plastic in 2006.
CHEJ works as a convener bringing together organizations from different walks of life like teachers, doctors, nurses, blue-collar workers and faith-based leaders. Through building strategic partnerships we create a more powerful and diverse collaborative effort for advocating healthy communities everywhere.