Salcedo Auto Center, a family owned auto shop located at 3377 Washington Street, has transitioned away from using lead-based wheel weights in their tire balancing service to lead-free wheel weights, which are made of a flexible polymer composite.
This transition will result on the elimination of 83 pounds of lead from the environment each year.
Lead wheel weights significantly contribute to lead pollution when they fall off cars and end up in storm drains or on the street. Furthermore, lead exposure can affect every organ in the body, and is most recognized for causing permanent damage to the brain. Wheel weights are used in the process of balancing tires. Despite known health risks, the weights are traditionally made of lead.
In addition to eliminating the use of lead wheel weights, Salcedo Auto Center is also enhancing safety practices to better protect the health of its workers. Some of these practices include improving the way hazardous materials are managed.
On Saturday, June 20th the owners of Salcedo Auto Center, Melania and Rafael Salcedo, will open up their auto shop to celebrate this transition.
Melania and Rafael, who are originally from the Dominican Republic, came to the U.S. in 2002. The couple established Salcedo Auto Center in Egleston Square in 2006 as the primary source of livelihood for their family. The Salcedos have a daughter in college, a son applying to college and another son in high school.
Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (JP NET) not only offered Melania and Rafael free positive publicity for making their shop greener and healthier, but they were able to introduce the auto shop to the Massachusetts Office of Technical Assistance (OTA)– a non-regulatory government agency that provides free and confidential toxics use reduction and pollution prevention assistance to Massachusetts businesses.
“This is an example of how collaboration between community, government and small businesses can make great environmental gains,” said Tiffany Skogstrom, an Environmental Analyst at OTA. “The owners of Salcedo Auto Center are true environmental leaders and visionaries. Our joint effort quite literally took 83 lbs of lead off the streets.”
The transition of Salcedo Auto Center is the second success of the Cancer-Free Economy initiative, a partnership among the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition, the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production and the Toxics Action Center to help livelihood businesses transition away from using toxic substances while saving money and building an environmentally conscious client base. This partnership has received financial support by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell for two consecutive years.
Last year, the partnership helped J&P Cleaners, a local dry cleaners, transition away from using perchloroethylene, a known carcinogen, to using a non-toxic wet cleaning process. Thanks to the technical assistance, a TURI grant, Kickstarter funds, and organizing support, J&P is the only Healthy Green Cleaner in JP.
Rafael and Melania are inviting the entire JP community to come celebrate this transition on June 20 at 2pm at their shop. Attendees will receive a $10 discount on a tire balance service that day, which will be done in a lead-free manner. The event location is 3377 Washington St. in Jamaica Plain. Come and bring your friends.