East Boston mothers sound alarm about air pollution from Logan Airport [Boston Herald, 25/11/19]
Julia Burrell and her two young children were enjoying a day at the park near their East Boston home when their noses started to burn.
Believing it to be a symptom of air pollution from Logan Airport, Burrell told her girls to cover their noses and run home.
Burrell and her husband knew noise would be an issue when they bought a house near the airport a decade ago. But they were unaware of a silent menace — ultrafine particles from jet engine exhaust — that they now say can put their children at risk, just by breathing.
“Air pollution was something we didn’t really sign up for,” she said.
Burrell is now a member of Mothers Out Front, a nationwide advocacy group focused on climate change whose newly formed East Boston chapter is working to put air filters in schools throughout the neighborhood to help protect youngsters from health issues studies have linked to ultrafine particles, including asthma. And the group wants the Massachusetts Port Authority, overseer of “big polluter” Logan Airport, to help.
“We’re disproportionally burdened here in East Boston by this pollution,” Burrell said. “We want Logan, we want Massport, to be a good neighbor.”
Massport said in a statement, “We acknowledge that operations at Massport facilities impact our neighboring communities. Several area universities are currently doing research to determine aviation-related air pollution. We support this research, have provided data, and urge the FAA to ensure it is completed. As always, we are collaborating with surrounding communities and our elected officials on these kinds of issues.”
A 2014 Logan Airport Health Study by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found children in the “high exposure area” near the airport were three to four more times as likely to experience symptoms of asthma. Adults in that area also run a higher risk of chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease.