Study Shows Logan Airport Impacts Health of Residents

DPH's Associate Commissioner Susan Condon goes over the data and health issues related to airport and urban pollution as part of the release of the Logan Health Study.

DPH’s Associate Commissioner Susan Condon goes over the
data and health issues related to airport and urban pollution as
part of the release of the Logan Health Study.

Fourteen years and $2 million in the making the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) finally released it long awaited Logan Health Study last Wednesday night.

The study, first ordered by Senator Anthony Petruccelli in 2000 through legislation he filed while still in the House of Representatives, has found that as you get closer to Logan International Airport the incidents of childhood asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) was higher.

In the days following the release of the study elected officials, community groups and state agencies are weighing in on the findings.

“When I first directed the Department of Public Health to conduct this study, the objective was to get a baseline of the health impacts associated with the operations at Logan Airport so that we could work as a community to create public health and environmental programs that would make a positive impact,” said Petruccelli. “Now that the study is complete, we have an idea of what our targets need to be and I look forward to working with the appropriate state and municipal agencies and community organizations on the creation of the programs that are needed.”

Eastie’s AirInc., the neighborhood’s watchdog group that oversees mitigation for Logan impacts on the community, reacted to the study’s findings Tuesday.

“The recently released Massachusetts Department of Public Health study regarding health impacts of Logan Airport’s operations raises serious health concerns for residents living in close proximity to the airport,” AirInc. said in a statement. “The study, which found increases in chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases in nearby residents and increased rates of asthma in children, calls for a broad reassessment of Logan’s operations. Protecting human health must now be the highest priority of the State DOT, Massport and Mayor Walsh. Residents in impacted communities expect to see change; both in short term day to day operations at Logan as well as in the long term strategic planning now underway.”

AirInc. invited the Harvard School of Public Health, the State Department of Public Health, the City of Boston’s Department of Environment, Energy and Open Space, Massport, the State Department and Transportation and the local air quality scientific community to participate in the technical review process.

“AirInc. is actively inviting residents and community groups in and around East Boston to participate in a Study Review Forum Panel discussion which will include airport and transportation industry experts to be announced upon completion of the technical review,” read the statement. “The panel discussion will be held bilingually to be as inclusive of as many of the neighborhood’s diverse residents as possible.”

The DPH released the findings at a town meeting in Winthrop last Wednesday and is considered the first comprehensive study on the environmental health impacts of Logan among residents of the 17 communities that are within a five-mile radius of the airport.

The study, conducted by DPH’s Bureau of Environmental Health was based on personal interview data for over 6,000 adults and more than 2,000 children in the study area.

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