Health Issues

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Car exhaust tied to stroke risk

Boston Globe: “Air pollution tied to stroke risk”
Car exhaust and other air pollution, even at levels considered safe by federal regulations, may substantially increase the risk of a stroke, a research team from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reported yesterday.

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New study on health impacts of fine particulates

An important new report from American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force and Earthjustice (originally the Sierra Club legal arm) has just been released: “SICK OF SOOT – How the EPA can save lives by cleaning up fine particle pollution.” This summarizes a large new study which calculates the health effects of fine particles in the US.

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Great short film on the risks of highway air pollution


The documentary, from Tufts University, provides an overview of the local CAFEH (Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health) study that STEP is participating in.

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Study on traffic pollution and heart attack risk

BBC News: “Car fumes ‘raise heart attack risk for six-hour window'”
Prof Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which co-funded the study, said: “This large-scale study shows conclusively that your risk of having a heart attack goes up temporarily, for around six hours, after breathing in higher levels of vehicle exhaust.”

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New York Daily News: Perspective on air pollution

“Wake up to the most dangerous air pollution: Fine particulate matter kills thousands in N.Y.C., L.A.”
Co-authored by STEP’s Wig Zamore
“Fine particulate matter is especially insidious because it is virtually invisible, odorless and tasteless. All of us are exposed, but few are aware of it. Despite the substantial impact on our health, it is not well-known to the public compared with many environmental exposures that pose far smaller health risks, such as electromagnetic fields from cell phones or the hazardous chemicals at waste sites. In terms of health risks and number of people affected, particulate matter should rank in importance with other public health concerns such as smoking and secondhand smoke exposure and obesity trends.”

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STEP and partners receive grant to study air pollution near I-93

Somerville Journal: “Somerville receives federal grant to study air pollution near I-93 homes”
“STEP is very enthusiastic to be a partner for this study,” said STEP President Ellin Reisner. “For the past year, we have worked as a community partner with Tufts University studying UFP exposure of residents in East Somerville living near I-93. This study provides our community with a critically important opportunity to identify ways to effectively reduce indoor UFP exposure which can have serious cardiovascular health consequences.”

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Freeway pollution tied to heart disease and strokes

Los Angeles Times: “Study finds traffic pollution can speed hardening of arteries”
People living within 328 feet of an L.A. freeway were found to have twice the average progression of atherosclerosis – thickening of artery walls that can lead to heart disease and stroke.

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Another report links car pollution to health problems

New York Times: “Report Links Vehicle Exhaust to Health Problems”
Exhaust from cars and trucks exacerbates asthma in children and may cause new cases as well as other respiratory illnesses and heart problems resulting in deaths, an independent institute that focuses on vehicle-related air pollution has concluded.

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WBUR on Somerville’s air pollution research project

“On The Streets Of Somerville, An RV On A Mission”
Air pollution is a big problem in the city. In fact, Somerville has some of the highest rates of lung cancer and heart attack deaths in the state, and some researchers think that’s partly due to poor air quality caused by highways.

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Somerville air quality testing begins soon

Somerville News: “Comprehensive air quality testing for one year begins soon”
The Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, a group of concerned Somervillians, has partnered with Tufts University to devise and implement a study of air quality in neighborhoods just off major highways in Somerville. It is thought that the added pollution from passing cars negatively affects the residents’ cardiovascular health.

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