Community Action and Response Against Toxics (CARAT) Team

National Director: Payton M. Wilkins


Many low-income communities and people of color suffer a disproportionate burden of environmental hazards. They suffer from various health problems associated with poor quality air, water and toxic exposure. Often, these communities are victims of environmental racism and the discriminatory enforcement of environmental laws and regulations. This exclusion from protection has resulted in high rates of disease, birth defects and sometimes early death in communities our labor members reside.

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 CBTU members.

  • A national CARAT Team training program has been created.
  • 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 national convention.