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Heat Emergency in Boston
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Mayor Wu declared a heat emergency in the City through Thursday, June 20.
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Clean Air in Boston

We’re working to improve the air quality in our neighborhoods.

The Boston Air Pollution Control Commission and its partners work to make our City a healthier and more comfortable place to live, work, and visit. We are developing programs to improve knowledge and support community action to reduce air pollution.

The Commission's programs and policies support the work to make Boston a carbon-neutral community by 2050. Reducing air pollution results in healthier air for Bostonians. We also reduce Boston's contribution to global climate change.

Real-Time Air Quality Dashboard

Improving Boston's Outdoor Air Quality

Cummins Highway

We have deployed air quality sensors on street lights along Cummins Highway. This roadway will be under construction in 2023. Using the sensors, we'll understand air quality before and after the roadway reconstruction. The sensors are small, solar-powered, and don’t collect identifiable information. Learn more about the Cummins Highway reconstruction.

Community Clean Air Grants

The pilot grant program awarded funding to three community projects that address air pollution in our neighborhoods. We are currently evaluating the pilot’s impacts to potentially launch a permanent grant-making initiative. Learn about the Community Clean Air Grants.

Monitoring initiatives

We are partnering with researchers, government agencies, and community groups to understand outdoor air quality and the impact of our work to reduce air pollution in Boston. If you know of a monitoring initiative that is not listed on this page, please contact us at apcc@boston.gov.

Cummins Highway Sensors

Purple Air Sensor

 

Improving Boston's Indoor Air Quality

BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS (BPS) AIR QUALITY SENSOR DASHBOARD

BPS installed Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) sensors in all classrooms in schools that report information in real-time on air quality. The use of data directs changes to the setup in each classroom. It's also used to note opportunities to reach optimal air quality and ventilation. Read about the IAQ sensing initiative and view the online dashboard.

BREATHE EASY AT HOME (BPHC)

The Breathe Easy at Home (BEAH) program is a web-based referral system offered by the Boston Public Health Commission. Healthcare professionals refer Boston residents with asthma for a home inspection led by Inspectional Services. Inspections are available in the following languages: English, Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, French, and Vietnamese. Learn more about the BEAH program.

LUNCHBOX OF SENSORS

Do you want to better understand indoor air quality in your home? We are developing a toolkit of sensors that you can check out and take home. Learn more about the Lunchbox of Sensors project.

Mayor Wu with BPS Student at computer

Homes in East Boston

Lunchbox

What does air quality mean to me?

What does air quality mean to me?
What is air pollution?
  • Air pollution consists of dangerous substances from both human-made and natural sources. These pollutants can contaminate indoor or outdoor environments.

  • Common sources of air pollution include furnaces, boilers, and gas stoves, cars and trucks, industrial facilities, and forest fires.

  • Dangerous pollutants include; particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

How can it affect my health?
  • According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air pollution can have a negative impact on human health. Yet, not everyone experiences its effects evenly. For example, women, children, and people of color can experience greater health risks.

  • These health effects can include heart disease, respiratory disease, and premature mortality. These health effects can also lead to increase hospital and emergency room visits and result in lost work and school days.

How should I interpret air quality data?

Many factors affect air pollution levels, which can change very quickly.

  • Pollution sources can be local or far away. Rain and wind can also help wash away air pollution and improve air quality.
  • The EPA has three monitoring stations in Boston that generate high-quality data. Air quality data ranges from 0 to 500. Data 100 and below means good air quality while data 300 and above means hazardous air quality.

  • Low-cost sensors are more accessible. But, their readings may not be accurate or reliable. Make sure you understand the quality of the data you’re seeing before making decisions for your health.

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