Study Links Logan Airport Emissions to Increased Asthma and COPD

Concern about the possible impacts of Boston’s Logan Airport on the health of the residents in the surrounding area lead to a mandate from the Massachusetts Legislature to the Department of Public Health to: “…conduct an environmental risk assessment of the health impacts of the General Lawrence Logan Airport … on any community that is located within a 5 mile radius of the airport…” And thus, the Logan Airport Health Study (LAHS) was created.

The result was a first of its kind study that calculated exposure to emissions and noise by proximity to the airport and then compared these to indicators of population health. A correlation between proximity to the airport and Adult COPD and Probable Child Asthma was found.  No links were found with Cardiovascular or Auditory health indicators.

To begin, a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) was formed and our researchers teamed with residents, local health officials, and biostatisticians to design the research.

To collect data by proximity to the airport and exposure to emissions and noise, a complex stratified sample was designed. To provide the necessary statistical accuracy, data was collected by telephone from among 8,200 residents (adults and children).  Survey topics included information on health behaviors, risk factors, health outcomes, and demographic characteristics.

logan charts

The survey data was weighted and we worked collaboratively with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) over a period of three years to analyze the data collected by survey and the measured emissions and noise data. Logistic regression was used to quantify the impact of noise and air pollution on three categories of health indicators: respiratory, cardiovascular, and auditory.

Results were published in May 2014 by Massachusetts DPH.

First of its kind study that calculated exposure to emissions and noise by proximity to Logan Airport and then compared these to indicators of population health.

We worked collaboratively with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) over a period of three years to analyze the data collected by survey and the measured emissions and noise data