Studying the Health Effects of Living Near Freeways
"Community members in Somerville, as well as Boston's Chinatown, have joined with Tufts University researchers to determine whether microscopic "ultrafine particles" spewed by combustion engines are harming the health of people who live close to highways. In a study that is the first of its kind in the state and among the first in the nation, the scientists will measure these tiny pollutants in various locations and collect and map heart disease data from residents.
For decades, researchers have studied the dangers of coarse particles emitted by power plants and vehicles, which can aggravate asthma and other health problems and are regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Ultrafine particles are less understood and not subject to direct government limits, even though many scientists believe they could be even more harmful."