NOAH Begins Installing HEPA Filters

In celebration of Air Quality Week and National Asthma Day, East Boston’s Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) began installing HEPA purifier filters in several businesses in East Boston last week to combat air pollutants that lead to a wide array of respiratory diseases.

NOAH recently joined the movement to purify the indoor air in Eastie and recently received a $50,000 Community Clean Air Grant to place 40 HEPA filters in Eastie homes and businesses.

According to NOAH’s Resiliency Planning Coordinator Latifa Ziyad the Salvadoran Consulate was one of six Eastie places of business that accepted a HEPA filter from NOAH and air quality sensor from that will track the consulate’s foyer air quality. Other businesses included Muzzys Florist and Spinelli’s in Day Square.

NOAH was the only recipient in the second round of the city’s  Community Clean Air Grant and will use the money to identify 40 residential homes, businesses or other spaces where there’s a lot of foot traffic indoors. NOAH will use special equipment to test the air quality in the homes or businesses prior to the HEPA filters being installed and then go back and retest the air quality after the HEPA filters are up and running.

Ziyad said the goal of the program is after NOAH collects the before and after air quality data NOAH will go to Massport to demand more stringent policies on ultrafine particles coming from airplanes landing and taking off at Logan Airport.

“There’s a big residential area that is impacted by ultrafine particulates and what we’re hoping is this program is going to be a learning experience for people,” she said. “We’re already talking with some other potential funders to be able to bring more filters in the area.”

Studies show that 70 percent of Eastie pollution makes it indoors and 21 percent of residents in Eastie are children who are especially vulnerable to the many health effects of air pollution.

Specific models of HEPA purifiers can reduce their exposure to ultrafine particulate pollution by up to 94 percent. NOAH will be using the Austin Air Purifiers and the Blue air purifier manufactured by Blueair Pure 411.

Like cars, jets burn fuel and release harmful ultrafine particles that are so small they absorb right into the bloodstream and can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

“The City of Boston Grant has really helped us move the needle on air quality in east Boston,” said NOAH Executive Director Phil Giffee. “Forty percent of those impacted by the study have Asthma.”

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