Environmental health threats in Boston
City living has its advantages for Bostonians sampling the meatballs at Aragosta, shopping on Newbury Street or spending a night out at the Boston Ballet.
But epidemiologists, toxicologists, environmental scientists and health educators continuously identify a variety of issues that impact the public health of Bostonians. Here are some factors you may want to consider as you search for your next home and as you see your physician for a routine checkup:
- Interstates: I-93 is great for getting from Point A to Point B, but those who live in between — especially if they are downwind and within 300 feet — may be exposed to ultrafine particles emitted from the tailpipes of passing vehicles. These particles, which are thousands of times smaller in diameter than a human hair, may aggravate conditions like asthma and heart disease.
- Carbon: Fireplaces, furnaces and pilot lights are among the culprits that can produce soot in homes, the microscopic particles of which can affect indoor air quality and have adverse effects on the lungs.
- Lead poisoning: Children exposed to paint and other features in pre-1978 buildings may be exposed to lead dust. Your child’s pediatrician can screen for lead poisoning.
- Mold and mildew: Being so close to the water means there’s always moisture that’s attractive to the development of mold. A company specializing in testing and remediation can identify and remove mold and/or mildew on surfaces or hidden behind walls, between ceilings and floors or in crawl spaces.
- Asbestos: Living in one of the United States’ oldest cities means there’s a possibility a building in which you live or work has asbestos insulating boilers and pipes. Specially licensed contractors must be called in to remove or encapsulate asbestos or decontaminate an area that’s been exposed to asbestos that’s been disturbed, releasing fibers into the air.
Whether hiring a highly rated contractor to eliminate health hazard or visiting a doctor to assist in your healthcare needs, make sure you do your due diligence by check references and reviews. Also, it’s always advisable to compare the services provided by several providers.