3100.0: Monday, November 13, 2000 - 3:00 PM

Abstract #9172

Healthy cities initiative: A health assessment of urban air pollution and clean energy initiatives

Susannah L Foster, BA, Office of Environmental Health, Boston Public Health Commission, 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02118, 617-534-2680, susannah_foster@bphc.org, John A. Rich, MD, MPH, Executive Office, Boston Public Health Commission, 1010 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118, and Paul R. Epstein, MD, MPH, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, 260 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115.

Diesel engines emit large volumes of pollutants into our cities daily. Diesel engines account for 44% of nitrogen oxide emissions and 69% of particulate emissions from transportation. Nitrogen oxides irritate and damage lung tissue, and particulates are considered by many to be carcinogenic. Both contribute to the growing number of asthma cases found in urban areas, particularly the poorest areas such as Roxbury in Boston and the Bronx in New York City, where diesel trucks and buses are most often found. The indirect effects of air pollution are of increasing concern, as climate extremes carry serious health impacts. In order to address growing concerns about air quality in Boston, the Boston Public Health Commission and the Boston Transportation Department have formed a partnership to investigate and implement interventions in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health and community activists. Interventions include: (1) a City purchase of alternative fuel vehicles as part of a high-visibility campaign promoting the technologies, and the beginning of a partial conversion of the fleet to cleaner fuels, (2) a City commitment to purchase the cleanest available conventional vehicle in its class at every purchase - initial calculations show that in several years, such a program could save approximately $200,000 in fuel, $60,000 in health costs and 3,000 tons of greenhouse gases emissions each year, (3) an anti-idling public information campaign , and (4) an investigation and potential purchase of alternative fuel school buses. Measurements are being made to assess the impacts of the interventions.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, the participant will be able to: (1) Identify the health consequences of air pollution from transportation, and the areas where exposure to pollutants is most extreme. (2) Implement interventions to improve air quality including community outreach programs, and the use of clean energy technologies such as alternative fuel vehicles

Keywords: Air Quality, Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA