BOSTON (CBS) — A new study conducted by Boston-area researchers shows evidence that links living near highways to increased health risks.
The study by researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Health claims people living close to the Massachusetts Turnpike and Interstate 93 were at higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
The study used mobile labs to study ultrafine particles–microscopic metals and chemicals in the air–in Chinatown, Dorchester, and South Boston.
Tufts University professor Doug Brugge said he and his colleagues worked on the study for nearly ten years. He told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that ultrafine particles are not regulated, and he thinks they should be considered along with secondhand smoke, obesity, and lack of physical activity in increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
“Ambient air pollution, particulate matter including ultrafine particles in the air, are one of the leading causes of morbidity worldwide,” said Brugge. “A lot of that is in places like China and India where the air pollution is much higher, but there still remains substantial impact of air pollution in the United States.”
Researchers then took blood samples and interviewed 400 people living close to I-93. They found that those living within 1500 feet of a highway have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those living twice as far away.
Brugge said that there were solutions on the community level that should be pursued to combat the harm done by ultrafine particles.
“Some of the more immediate solutions are better filtration or use of air conditioning in people’s homes, or offices and schools,” said Brugge.
He also suggested building sound walls and moving schools and playgrounds away from highways.