CAFEH Study To Help Analyze I-93 Area Air Quality

Somerville News – “Comprehensive air quality testing for one years begins soon”
Somerville Journal – “Tufts to test Somerville air, residents, for air pollution toxins”

East Somerville – Residents of East Somerville may be visited soon by a group of volunteers and scientists looking to conduct a study of the air quality in the neighborhood. We have heard for years about the potential environmental impact of living so close to the I-93 freeway, but this will be the first study that works to find the direct link between the health and the direct pollution and air particulate levels coming from the highway.

The Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH), a study funded by a 2.5 million dollar grant to Tufts, is partnering up with The Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership among others to study the health effects for Somerville residents of living near a freeway. CAFEH is working to figure out not only how much pollution people near freeways are exposed to, but what the effects of this pollution are, and what can be done to lessen the pollution.

This will be an extremely valuable study for the future of Somerville and for the future of any urban community dealing with the effects of living next to a major highway.

Earlier this month, CAFEH held an informational presentation and breakfast at the Mt. Vernon restaurant on Broadway Ave in Somerville. Visitors were encouraged to spread the word about the study, check out the actual air quality monitoring van and equipment, and enjoy a sampling of the food at Mt. Vernon Restaurant. Representatives, engineers, volunteers, and other community groups showed up to support the effort and offer suggestions on how to make it work for the neighborhood.

My hope is that this knowledge will be used to help the state and federal governements realize the absolute necessity of mitigating the effects of and avoiding potential environmental hazards. In the same way that federal environmental standards have led to the legal obligation to fund the construction of Green Line through Somerville, there may be additional health concerns associated with freeways through communities that would require federal mandates for financial assistance. It will also be important research for future developments that will hopefully lead to a greener, more healthy planning process for roads and traffic engineering.

If you have any questions please contact Doug Brugge, PhD, MS, at:
Tufts University School of Medicine
Department of Public Health and Family Medicine
Phone: 617.636.0326

For more information follow these links
CAFEH:
http://www.tufts.edu/med/phfm/CAFEH/CAFEH.html
Pollution Near Highways Factsheet:
http://www.tufts.edu/med/phfm/CAFEH/pdfs/FactSheetsimp4[1].pdf

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