Who We Are

The Safe and Just Cleaners Study is a community-based participatory research partnership funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The study is collecting data on domestic cleaners’ chemical exposures and other working conditions to develop safer cleaning approaches to reduce exposure for cleaners and their clients.

Chemicals contained within common household cleaning and disinfecting products can cause health problems, including skin and respiratory irritation and asthma. Household cleaners—many of whom are Latinx immigrants—have inadequate knowledge and limited access to safer alternatives, whether using these products at work or at home. 

Our research aims to address this environmental health disparity by documenting and reducing exposures to cleaning agents. The project has conducted a survey of 402 Latinx household cleaners and will be collecting environmental exposure measurements to describe the exposure levels and working conditions that result in inhalation and dermal exposures to potentially toxic components of household cleaning agents. Using a workers’ rights and social justice perspective, the project’s public health campaign is informing Latinx workers and their communities about safer alternatives while simultaneously pursuing broader policy initiatives to reduce exposures.

Latinx woman cleaning glass

Partners 

MRNY builds the power of Latinx and working-class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services. MRNY operates community centers in Bushwick, Brooklyn; Jackson Heights, Queens; Port Richmond, Staten Island; Brentwood, Long Island; and White Plains, Westchester. With over 24,000 low-income members, MRNY tackles the critical issues facing our community: workplace justice, tenants’ rights, immigrant rights, language-access, LGBTQ justice, public education, health care access, and immigration reform. The Safe and Just Cleaners Study belongs to the Workers’ Health and Safety Program, which is directed by Deysi Flores and supported by Ana Gonzalez.

Make the Road New York
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BCCHE is an environmental and occupational health research center at Queens College, City University of New York. Our mission is to identify and help rectify environmental and occupational threats to human health. We emphasize a scientific approach to gather information and develop solutions and interact extensively with people and organizations that determine or are affected by policy choices.The Safe and Just Cleaners Study belongs to the Immigrant Worker Studies program, which is directed by Dr. Sherry Baron and supported by Dr. Isabel Cuervo. Current research and intervention studies examine the impact of COVID-19 on the health of low-wage, immigrant and other insecure workers.

The Mount Sinai Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health are dedicated to providing cutting-edge clinical services with a focus on prevention to keep workers healthy and their workplaces safe. A multidisciplinary healthcare team diagnose and treat occupational diseases, evaluate the working conditions of our patients, and suggest measures to improve work environments. The Institute for Exposomic Research and its Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (OEH) Laboratory complements the Selikoff Centers’ efforts by conducting research in occupational and environmental exposures and their impact on human health. The Safe and Just Cleaners Study is part of the OEH Laboratory directed by Dr. Homero Harari and supported by Maria Baldwin.

If you have any questions about our project, please contact safeandjustcleaners@mssm.edu. We monitor this account periodically and it may take a few days for you to receive a reply. Thank you for your interest!


Research Team 

Deysi Flores

Co-Principal Investigator, MRNY

Deysi Flores is a social psychologist. She is the Supervisor of the Workers Health and Safety Program (WHS) at Make the Road New York and oversees all operations, including training, logistics, fundraising, curriculum development, and participatory research projects. Previously, she spent 7 years working with vulnerable communities through educational and social projects in Latin America. 

Ana Gonzalez Romero

Outreach Specialist, MRNY

Ana Gonzalez Romero completed her bachelor’s degree, majoring in philosophy, during her tenure at Make the Road New York. Ana has led the recruitment of the household cleaner participants of the study and keeps working closely with them through policy campaigns and educational activities. She also supports the Health and Safety program and MRNY campaigns at large.

Dr. Sherry Baron

Co-Principal Investigator, BCCHE

Dr. Sherry Baron is an occupational physician. She is a Professor at the Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment at Queens College, and an affiliate Professor at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York. Previously, she spent 25 years as a researcher at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC.

Dr. Isabel Cuervo

Co-Investigator, BCCHE

Dr. Isabel Cuervo is an Environmental Psychologist. With Dr. Baron, she co-leads community-engaged research on the role of work in health, focusing on immigrant workers and employed in low wage and nonstandard arrangements. She specializes in qualitative methodologies and received additional training in community-based participatory research from the Detroit URC-University of Michigan partnership. 

Dr. Homero Harari

Co-Principal Investigator, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Homero Harari is an Assistant Professor in Exposure Science and a member of The Mount Sinai Institute for Exposomic Research. He serves as an Industrial Hygienist at the Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health. He is the head of the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene Laboratory at the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


Las Super Cleaners 

Las Super Cleaners group is a safe space for household cleaners to meet, learn and work together to increase awareness about environmental toxins and health impacts among household cleaners to reduce exposure to harmful cleaning chemicals, and strive for transformation in their workplaces and personal well-being as women. Household cleaners meet on a monthly basis and are supported by Make the Road New York.

We look forward to connecting with you!

Contact us to learn more about upcoming meetings. Your information is private, and only the staff of the three partner organizations of the Safe and Just Cleaners project will have access to it.

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