Contacts for media: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu
and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu
LOWELL, Mass. – Getting the lead out of electronics isn't easy. But Prof. Sammy Shina has stayed the course since 1999. He founded the New England Lead-Free Electronics Consortium, a group of about 30 electronics companies, that has worked together to find safer alternatives to lead used on circuit boards.
For Shina’s leadership, inspiration and determination, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI)
, state Sen. Marc Pacheco, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner David Cash and state legislators recently recognized Shina as the “Academic Champion of Toxics Use Reduction” at a Massachusetts State House ceremony.
“As part of the consortium, companies were able to participate in a neutral and safe environment at the university, where competitors, suppliers and customers collaborated together, even if they battled against each other in the marketplace,” Shina said at the awards ceremony.
Lead, used in solder paste and board surface component finishes, can cause acute and chronic health issues. The formation of the consortium was driven by new European Union regulations that restrict lead used in electronics. The consortium members banded together and contributed time, resources, materials and expertise to find safer solutions that worked.
“Most of the members of the consortium and their supply chain met and exceeded these environmentally safe lead-free goals. We continued to work together to prove that lead-free products can be made in actual industrial and high-volume settings,” said Shina, a Framingham resident who is a faculty member in UMass Lowell’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and the co-op coordinator for the university’s Francis College of Engineering.
TURI funded the work of the consortium for many years through the Academic Research program to address the needs of Massachusetts companies in the electronics industry. TURI, based at UMass Lowell, provides resources and tools to help make the Commonwealth a safer and more sustainable place to live and work. Established by the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act of 1989, TURI collaborates with businesses, community organizations and government agencies to reduce the use of toxic chemicals, protect public health and the environment and increase competitiveness of Massachusetts businesses.
Shina, as well as the other TURI award recipient, “are models for the Commonwealth and the nation for finding innovative solutions that reduce toxic chemical use at the source. They prove that protecting the environment, health and safety can promote economic growth,” said TURI Director Michael Ellenbecker, adding that university researchers like Shina are important in the work to find safer alternatives for Massachusetts industry.
In addition to benefiting companies, the consortium offered UMass Lowell students research opportunities that have helped them move into careers in industry and academia. Those include roles such as senior quality manager for a Massachusetts-based company in Westford, process engineer with a New Hampshire manufacturing business and research professor at UMass Lowell.
“The mission continues with a new batch of Massachusetts students learning new technologies and going on to excel in academia and industry. This is the generation that will continue to lead us into a safer world by protecting our health and safety for future generations, like my children and grandchildren,” said Shina.
Read about all of the 2014 Champions of Toxics Use Reduction Awards
on the TURI website.
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 17,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, engineering, education, fine arts, health, humanities, liberal arts, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu