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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Harvard: Near Highways, Air Pollution Getting into Homes, Schools

Dangerous levels of fine particulate air pollution have been found in homes, schools, and businesses near highways in Boston, according to new research.

Dr. Gary Adamkiewicz, assistant professor of environmental health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has been analyzing air samples both inside and outside buildings near highways. Dr. Adamkiewicz said that the fine particles generated by traffic pollution can penetrate deeply into the lungs and affect both lung and heart health.

Research by Dr. Adamkiewicz and others has shown that a building’s construction can affect how much pollution gets inside. For example, Dr. Adamkiewicz and his team found higher pollution levels inside older apartments in South Boston’s Old Colony public housing complex than in newer apartments with central air conditioning and windows that don’t fully open to busy roadways. He added that children living in older units were more likely to have asthma attacks than children living in newer units.

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